Trinamul supporters flouted various prohibitory orders issued by the Calcutta High Court and the police on Saturday when they descended on Esplanade to attend the party’s Martyrs’ Day rally.
Large buses were spotted on the Maidan, vehicles ferrying Trinamul supporters were parked on roads surrounding the Victoria Memorial, plastic bags less than 75 micron thick (which are banned) were used to distribute food and Covid protocols were thrown to the wind.
The Telegraph went around the Maidan and Esplanade and noticed how supporters violated orders of the high court and other rules.
Parking on Maidan
Parking any vehicle on the Maidan is prohibited by an order of the high court. The court had in September 2007 set guidelines for making a 3km-radius around the Victoria complex a pollution-free zone. But on Thursday, the order was violated with impunity.
Scores of buses, which ferried party supporters, were seen parked on the Maidan on Thursday.
“Parking any vehicle on the Maidan is a violation of the high court's order,” said green activist Subhas Datta, whose petition had led to the ban on parking.
Parking off Victoria
The high court has also banned parking around the Victoria Memorial, said Datta. “Parking on roads on all sides of the Victoria Memorial is prohibited,” he said.
But buses and SUVs were seen parked on Queensway, which runs along the northern boundary of Victoria.
The entire length of Queensway — between the intersections with Cathedral Road and Hospital Road — had cars and buses parked.
Datta said “the Supreme Court of India had also upheld Calcutta High Court's decision to ban parking around the Victoria Memorial”.
When The Telegraph asked Subhankar Sinha Sarkar, joint commissioner (headquarters) of Kolkata police, whether they had prosecuted anyone, he replied: “Speak to deputy commissioner (traffic)”.
Sunil Yadav, deputy commissioner (traffic), said traffic guards were responsible for prosecuting errant vehicles. “We had facilitated parking on some grounds like Gangasagar Mela ground. The traffic guards are responsible for prosecution,” he said.
The high court order also mentioned that open cooking on the Maidan was not allowed, said Datta.
On Thursday, The Telegraph noticed at least two ovens placed on the Maidan and connected with LPG cylinders. In one of them, a man was found cooking around 1pm, while the other was not being used at that time.
The Covid graph has been on the rise for several weeks now, but only a few people were wearing masks.
The state reported 2,486 new Covid cases on Thursday.
Although not mandatory, the Centre and the state governments have urged people to maintain physical distancing and wear masks to prevent the spread of Covid. Both were violated rampantly.
A public health expert said even if distancing was not possible, wearing a mask reduced chances of infection.
Mohammad Anwar, 34, was carrying a mask in his pocket. He said he was not wearing it since he was some distance from the rally centre.