KOLKATA: Normal life came to a grinding halt in West Bengal on Thursday as it witnessed strict enforcement of complete lockdown with the police cracking down heavily on violators and arrested more than 4,000 of them across the state.
Heavy overnight rain that continued in the morning too forced people to stay indoors in the city and most other places in south Bengal.
The complete lockdown is part of the Mamata Banerjee government’s measure to carry out such exercise every week since July 23 to break the chain on coronavirus infestion amid admission of community transmission in some parts of the state.
Officials said a total 4012 were arrested in the state, including 913 in Kolkata alone, on the charge of violating lockdown guidelines and safety precautions.
All public transport stayed off the roads, government and private offices, banks and other commercial establishments, barring those dealing with essential services, remained closed due to the lockdown.
Flight operations at the Kolkata airport were suspended following a request by the state government to the civil aviation ministry in this regard.
Essential services like medicine shops and health establishments remained open as these were kept out of the purview of the complete shutdown. Petrol pumps are also allowed to stay open on the lockdown days.
Police patrolled all major traffic intersections in the city to keep a check on people coming out on the streets without any valid reason. Barricades were put up in various parts of the state, the officials said.
Special police teams were seen patrolling various parts of the city, especially containment zones.
In several places the police were seen punishing lockdown violators by making them do squats and frog jumps.
The police resorted to lathi charge in some areas to disperse the violators in East Burdwan and Birbhum districts.
“Across West Bengal around 30,99 people were arrested. Overall the situation is peaceful,” a senior official of West Bengal police said.
Schools, colleges and other educational institutes in the state are closed since late March when the first phase of the nationwide lockdown started.
The state witnessed complete lockdowns on August 5, 8, 20, 21. Another one is slated to be held on August 31.
West Bengal has registered 1,50,772 Covid-19 cases, including 3017 fatalities till Wednesday.