Maharashtra DGP on mass exodus from state and challenges due to Covid-19 outbreak

Mumbai: Maharashtra is amongst the state with maximum number of Covid-19 cases in the country. Director General of Police Subodh Kumar Jaiswal, the state’s police chief, talks to ET on the major challenges concerning the mass exodus from Mumbai and its neighbouring Pune and Thane towards the northern and southern borders of the state and the challenges the pandemic has created for the police forces in the state.

On sealing the borders

Central and state governments have made it very clear that the borders have to be sealed and that there was to be no movement of people across the borders. Inter-district movements have been totally stopped and wherever we find such movements, along with the state administration, provisions are being made for their lodging and boarding facilities. There are camps being set up at various designated places across the state where these people are being looked after. At this point in time we can’t comment on what has caused it. People are moving for various reasons. We are under instruction that movements have to be stopped wherever they are.

On the issue of social distancing at relief camps

Usual challenges of ensuring social distancing are being tackled. They are being looked after and whatever wherewithal is needed for their sustenance, (provided).

On E-grocers and e-commerce platforms

More than enough passes have been issued and all the arrangements required to be made on the part of the police have been made. These portals are facing a shortage of delivery personnel. We are assisting them in every way possible.

On seamless supply of essential commodities
There is absolutely no challenge. We have issued passes and all facilitation required by the police is done. Talking particularly on the APMC market in Navi Mumbai, it’s been organised properly. Whatever new challenges are coming by the way are being resolved.

On hoarding commodities
Wherever we have found commodities being hoarded, police have taken action against hoarders. One thing is very clear, that we will enforce (the law) and if anybody is found hoarding essential items, strict action will be taken against them.

On identifying those who travelled abroad
The list has been circulated to the district authorities and they are trying to identify and locate them

On major challenges faced on the ground?

The biggest challenge is to ensure that people remain inside and follow the prohibitory orders. A lot of people are trying to circumvent the orders by giving false alibis. Many of the truck drivers and containers who are allowed for ferrying essential supplies are instead carrying passengers across the districts. The challenge is to identify such vehicles. The other challenge is those posed by overcrowding. In such areas we are encouraging people to stay indoors. We are communicating and sensitising them on the need for social distancing.

Challenges in rural pockets
Here also the population has been advised to stay put. No migration or intra-district movement of people is being allowed.

On actions taken against violators?
Over 7,000 cases have been registered for violating curfew norms across the state. Also cases have been registered for posting fake messages on social media platforms and those who are ferrying people outside the state cramming them in trucks and containers. In certain cases, people were found violating quarantine requirement and action has been taken against them

On police excess

We are being faced with a challenge of enforcement which is unprecedented and the police forces are trying to do the best to ensure that we do it effectively.

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