KOLKATA: At a time when Covid positive cases are rising, especially in some containment zones, Kolkata Police and Kolkata Municipal Corporation find it difficult to strictly implement containment rules for want of logistics and under pressure from a section residents, who are demanding free movement in such zones.
The officials are struggling to impose restrictions in some of the biggest containment zones of the city located at Patuli, Baghajatin and Beliaghata. Cops said it was proving to be difficult to keep people indoors even in containment areas except on the lockdown days. “We must admit that cops can’t reach every household in a containment zone. We don’t have adequate manpower to keep a vigil on every single house in a containment zone,” said an officer from south suburban division. According to an official, logistical issues are turning out to be the biggest challenge in some containment zones, sometimes covering as many as 300 local residents. The state authorities have responded by creating micro-clusters to overcome this challenge.
Apart from facing logistical problems, KMC officials and cops at times face resistance from residents in containment zones who demand free movement. According to a KMC health department official, residents often complain that their movements are being restricted by barricading the entry and exit of a large area and that sometimes they find it difficult to get essentials. In these cases, the local police, in consultation with the local ward coordinator and KMC executive health officer, have extended relief for some families by breaking larger containment zones in to smaller ones, each covering not more than 10 houses. These include containment zones at Patuli I block, Biplabi Barin Ghosh Sarani, Barwalitala in Beliaghata and Talpukur Bazar near Baghajatin Place.
Cops said they were allowing some movement even in containment areas. “Say there are houses in a row from 1 to 10. Now, there are Covid cases in 1 and 2 and then again at 9. But since they are in one lane, we had to put up barricades at both ends. Now suppose a small bylane connects houses 5, 6 and 7 with the main road. There is no reason why these residents won’t get some support. This also breaks up larger zones into smaller pockets that are easier to control,” explained an officer.
Police said the first experiment of this sort was carried out in Behala Sakherbazar. The breaking up of C-zones — like in Dinesh Nagar in Mukundapur — also helps in ensuring that those visiting Mukundapur Market are not harassed.