The West Bengal government is enforcing the sixth and last day of complete state-wide lockdown this month in a bid to break the chain of COVID-19 that has already claimed nearly 1.6 lakh lives till date in the state.
Even though the Mamata Banerjee-led administration had announced three lockdown days in 7, 11 and 12 September – of the month – the ‘unlock 4’ guidelines released by the union government says that states will have to consult the centre before enforcing such lockdown restrictions.
“We will discuss the matter with the union government. The state had declared the lockdown days before the ‘unlock 4’ guidelines were released,” said a senior state government official.
The state government had been enforcing biweekly lockdown since July. In August, five state-wide complete lockdown days have been enforced and the sixth and last one was being enforced on 31 August. The government had changed the dates multiple times and had even reduced the number of days from nine to six.
More than 4000 people have been arrested in Kolkata alone in the last five lockdown days for violating restrictions, while over 2,500 people were booked for not wearing masks.
“If arrest figures, over the five lockdown days, are considered, Kolkatans seem to be showing no restraint on lockdown days. On every lockdown day, the number of people arrested for violating lockdown numbers varied between 700 and 900, while the number of persons booked for not wearing masks varied between 350 and 500,” said a senior police officer.
Since 31 August, morning police barricades have been put up on roads across the city, naka checking was being done, vehicle owners were being checked and people were being questioned and either sent back home or arrested if they failed to provide valid reasons for being on the roads.
Kolkata has registered around 40,000 COVID-19 cases – highest among all districts in West Bengal. North 24 Parganas has reported around 33,000 cases. The city has registered 1,280 deaths.