The Hyderabad Traffic Police on Monday cracked down on those who were found on the streets without reason on the first day of the complete shutdown announced by the Telangana government until March 31, to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Hyderabad Traffic Police said that it had set up 73 check posts in the limits of all 25 Traffic Police Stations under its jurisdiction and seized a total of 2,480 vehicles. This included 1,058 two-wheelers, 948 three-wheelers (autos) and 429 four-wheelers.
"During the checking, officers caught hold of motorists moving on the roads in spite of the lockdown declaration. Citizens are requested to restrain themselves in their homes and not come out unless there is an emergency," the police said in a press note.
Those who do not adhere to the lockdown rules will be booked under Section 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and their vehicles will be seized, authorities said.
Police also said that their Traffic Control room (040-27852482) and helpline number (9010203626) will be available round the clock, in case of any emergency.
With people refusing to stay indoors, the traffic police also resorted to deploying barricades on arterial roads in the city on Monday.
If you are not supposed to be on roads, but are, then police will block it. That way not only are you stuck, but so are essential service providers like ambulances, media personnel, doctors who are to reach their workplace will be stuck in traffic endlessly with others.— Donita Jose (@DonitaJose) March 23, 2020
Helpless and hopeless Hyderabad police just blocked the roads with barricades inorder to make sure people don't come out of houses. @TelanganaDGP appealed every to stay home. This is near the CM camp office - Green Lands. #Hyderabad pic.twitter.com/cSUaQQB2QV— Agasthya Kantu (@agasthyakantu) March 23, 2020
DGP Telangana Sri.M.Mahender reddy IPS today visited Historical Charminar & seen the arrangements of Hyderabad City police in view of lockdown & night curfew.....DGP instructed all the police officials to go tough on those who voilates the instructions..... pic.twitter.com/1605s7KAQQ— Telangana State Police (@TelanganaCOPs) March 23, 2020
'Auto, cab drivers are daily wagers'
Owing to the crackdown by the Hyderabad police, many auto and taxi union leaders have asked the Telangana government to consider them as daily wage labourers and help them during the lockdown period.
Announcing the lockdown on Sunday, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said that since the daily wage workers employed in the construction industry and others would be affected, the employers would have to pay wages to them for the lockdown period. He said the government would also pay wages for its contract employees.
He also said 87 lakh white ration cardholders would be provided 12 kg rice and Rs 1,500 for buying food items. It would would cost the government Rs 2,417 crore.
Speaking to TNM, Sathi Reddy, general secretary of Telangana Autorickshaw Drivers Samakhya said, "If an auto driver doesn't go out every day, he will not have money to feed his family. Not all of them will have white ration cards though. For these people, some arrangements should be made."
"We don't even have a saving and many of them live in poverty after having migrated from villages to make a living in Hyderabad. We are ready to cooperate with the shutdown. If the government gives us an assurance, we will stay at home," he added.
Syed Nizamuddin from the Telangana State Cabs and Bus Operators Association (TSCBOA), who is also a spokesperson of the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC), echoes the same when it comes to cab and taxi drivers.
"It is important that their needs are addressed. The cab and taxi drivers should also be recognised and get some financial assistance. The government has taken a good initiative to curb the spread of coronavirus, but at the same time, it should take responsibility of daily wage earners, especially cab and auto drivers."
"Many of them have even bought cars with the help of equated monthly instalments (EMIs) and even if they don't make money to pay that back during the lockdown, they should at least get money for their daily meals," he added.