Roads wore a deserted look in Hyderabad and the rest of Telangana on Wednesday morning as the 10-day lockdown began across the state to check the spread of Covid-19.
The busy markets in Hyderabad are under zero mobility as all the shops and business establishments downed shutters at 10 a.m.
People were seen rushing back homes after availing themselves the four-hour relaxation from 6 a.m. to buy the essentials.
Police personnel was patrolling the streets to enforce the lockdown.
Wednesday being the first day of the lockdown, police were not strict in enforcing restrictions in the initial hours. This was done to give some time to people to return home. However, from Thursday police plan to take strict action against those found on roads after 10 a.m.
A senior police official said cases would be booked against violators under Disaster Management Act and their vehicles would be seized.
Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar who was supervising lockdown enforcement at historic Charminar said 180 checkpoints were set up in the city to check the movement of vehicles. Senior officials were deployed to ensure strict adherence to lockdown norms.
“Lockdown is important to break the chain of infection. There is good awareness about this among people and they are extending cooperation with the police,” the police Commissioner said.
Cyberabad Police Commissioner V. C. Sajjanar and Rachakonda Police Commissioner Mahesh Bahgwath were also in the field to monitor the lockdown enforcement in their commission rate limits.
Elaborate arrangements were also made in 32 other districts in Telangana to enforce the 20-hour lockdown. Director-General of Police M. Mahender Reddy directed all commissioners and superintendents of police to ensure strict enforcement of lockdown.
Earlier, roads were abuzz with traffic since early morning as people ventured out to buy essentials. Vegetable markets, grocery shops, meat shops and supermarkets were teeming with customers since 6 a.m.
Public transport services like the RTC bused and Metro trains were also operated from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.
In some places, garment shops also opened early in the morning to enable people to do the shopping for Eid, which is to be celebrated Thursday or Friday.
The State Cabinet on Tuesday decided to impose state-wide lockdown for 10 days to contain the spread of Covid-19. Every day, there will be relaxation for general activities and needs of the people. Only for these four hours, all the shops will be opened.
Pharmaceutical companies, companies manufacturing medical equipment, medical distributors, medical shops, all types of medical and health services, government and private hospitals, and their staff have been exempted from lockdown.
Transportation on national highways will be allowed for the movement of essential commodities. Petrol and diesel pumps would be open on the national highways.
Government offices would work with 33 percent of the staff. Like during the lockdown last time, banks and ATMs would also work.
Only 40 members will be allowed for marriage with prior permission. For funeral rites, a maximum of 20 persons will be allowed.
The government has ordered the closure of cinema halls, swimming pools, clubs, gyms, amusement parks, and sports stadia.
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The state government was initially reluctant to impose lockdown. While imposing night curfew on May 23, it had ruled out imposing partial or total lockdown, saying the measure would be of not much help in containing the surge.
Last week, the chief minister had also stated that such a move would bring life to a standstill and would lead to the total collapse of the economy.
However, the government finally decided to impose lockdown after the high court pulled it up for not taking strict measures to check the spread of Covid.