With the government tweaking directives on the fortnight-long curfew ordering closure of commercial establishments of non-essential nature, administrative officials in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts hit the streets closing such establishments even as entrepreneurs looked astonished over the development on Friday.
Mangaluru Police Commissioner N. Shashi Kumar and Udupi Deputy Commissioner G. Jagadeesha were among those who were on the ground in Mangaluru and Udupi booking cases against establishments that were open to ensure compliance with the health protocol.
Mr. Kumar led a team of police officers who went around the Central Market area from noon and concluded the drive by 1 p.m. at Kankanady Market. Red roses were offered to people who wore face masks and complied with social distancing norms while on roads and on city buses. The team found establishments dealing with non-essential goods, including a couple of major jewellery and diamond outlets, open in Hampankatta and Falnir. “These outlets know they cannot operate when restrictions are in place between April 21 and May 4. But still they continue to operate. We are booking cases for cognisable offences under the Epidemic Diseases Act against such establishments,” he said.
Mr. Kumar and Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Hariram Shankar took managers of two retail outlets in a mall in Kankanady to task for keeping their outlets open. They also found several outlets operating, though they had downed their shutters. Some lowered their shutters after seeing the police team coming.
Several teams of COVID-19 Marshals led by Mangaluru City Corporation personnel went around the city to close down non-essential commercial activities.
In Udupi, Mr. Jagadeesha led a team of officials to inspect arrangements at the new shandy opened at Gandhi Maidan in Byndoor. The shandy was operating near the Shaneshwara temple and was relocated to Gandhi Maidan to ensure social distancing.
Mr. Jagadeesha interacted with the traders and visitors to the shandy and emphasised the need for people to comply with the restrictions put in place by the State government to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Several teams of officials led by Bantwal Tahsildar Rashmi and personnel from Bantwal Town Municipal Council went around places, including Kalladka, Melkar, BC Road and Bantwal town, to enforce wearing of masks. They also got shops dealing with non-essential goods closed. The Bantwal Rural Police registered a case against fish sellers for not maintaining social distancing while carrying out their business in Farangipet.
Similar action was taken by revenue, police and Puttur Town Municipal Council personnel in Puttur town and other places of Puttur taluk.