Police on Tuesday conducted drives across the city and the suburbs against people not wearing masks. Many were prosecuted while many more were warned and given masks on the spot in places like Chandni Chowk, Beckbagan, Shyambazar five-point crossing, New Market and Gariahat.
A senior police officer in Lalbazar said the drive was to re-instill the importance of wearing masks among people who were stepping out of their homes.
Hundreds of people were spotted without masks in the marketplaces that The Telegraph visited on Tuesday afternoon. Many of them were being stopped by the police who were asking them why they weren’t wearing masks.
“Several people gave the excuse that they forgot their masks at home. Some said ‘Corona is gone’,” said an officer who was posted at Gariahat market on Tuesday.
Cops used loudhailers and microphones to make announcements requesting people to wear masks and maintain distance even when they were shopping in crowded places.
At Chandni Chowk, many pedestrians who were walking without masks were stopped by the police who handed out masks to be worn on the spot.
Cops used loudhailers and microphones to make announcements requesting people to maintain Covid norms even when they were shopping in crowded places
Kolkata has witnessed a sharp rise in the number of Covid cases after Durga Puja when thousands of people had come out onto the roads to visit pandals or for get-togethers.
Doctors and public health experts have been warning that the only way to prevent the spread of the infection was to wear masks and maintain social distance. The administration has been making appeals asking people to follow all Covid norms to ensure that there is no further spurt in cases during Kali Puja.
“We have found that a large section of motorists and two-wheeler riders were also not wearing masks. We are trying to stop each such vehicle and request them to put on their mask. They need to understand, even when someone is travelling in a car or a bike, he or she could be exposed to the virus through people in the same vehicle or from outside,” said an officer at Beckbagan.
Till around Tuesday noon, more than 800 people were prosecuted across the city for not wearing masks, the police said. The prosecution figure is at least four times the number on other days, police records suggest.
Similar awareness drives were conducted on the outskirts of the city including in the Narendrapur and Sonarpur police station areas, adjoining the Kolkata police jurisdiction.
Officers of Sonarpur police station were spotted stopping motorcycles and auto rickshaws if the drivers were without masks.
“We have seized the keys of several vehicles whose drivers were without masks. We are making announcements to re-emphasise the use of masks and social distancing,” said a senior officer of Sonarpur police station.
In a majority of the cases across the city, the police were clicking photographs of the offenders and noting down their contact numbers and addresses, which would be forwarded to the court for appropriate action under the Disaster Management Act.