GUWAHATI, April 3 - In shocking defiance of the ongoing lockdown imposed in view of the mounting Covid-19 threat, some localities in the heart of State capital Guwahati continue to function normally, with different types of shops running as a matter of routine and people keeping themselves to outdoors in large numbers without bothering to follow physical distancing norms.
A large stretch covering Lalganesh, Udalbakra, etc., areas has been least affected by the countrywide shutdown, as evident from the continuous operation of all normal activities.
This is despite the fact that the Centre had on Thursday instructed the states and UTs to initiate strict legal action against violators under the IPC and the Disaster Management Act.
�Most of the shops are open. People are seen outdoors in groups. I tried to pursue the matter with some local people, but to no avail. This has been the scene here for the past three days,� Paragjyoti Dutta, general manager of Hayat Hospital told The Assam Tribune.
The prevailing situation, in utter disregard to lockdown norms, heightens the spectre of a major Covid-19 outbreak manifold, more so because around 20 cases have already been reported in the State.
�Social distancing is the only solution to prevent the spread of the infection. But people here seem to think otherwise, as they are moving about crowding the shops, posing a serious threat to themselves and society. While only grocery stores and pharmacies are supposed to be open, here all sorts of shops and vendors are doing business nonchalantly,� Dutta said.
Another resident of Lalganesh said it is shocking how the people are behaving in this hour of crisis that warrants utmost restraint on their part.
�It is clear that lockdown does not have any meaning here. The authorities, therefore, have to enforce the rules. Things can ease if police frequent these areas at periodical intervals. Deploying mobile police personnel is a must here,� he said.
A district administration official said that the matter has been brought to its notice and that strict action is being initiated against the violators.
�We have received complaints about the goings on there. Our teams have started operations to enforce lockdown rules in these localities,� he said.
Aside the provisions of IPC, lockdown violations could invite jail term or heavy penalty under the Disaster Management Act, 2005. Refusal to comply with the directions given by the Centre or the respective state can invite punishment which includes jail term up to years or a fine or both. If non-compliance leads to loss of life or danger, it shall invite punishment of jail term of two years.