Karnataka: ‘Pass system’ for movement in Bengaluru; stamping extended

The Karnataka government will now stamp all primary and secondary contacts of people already stamped, including those who have returned from abroad and patients who have tested positive for coronavirus.

On the first day of the nationwide 21-day lockdown to combat COVID-19 Wednesday, the Karnataka government decided to introduce a ‘pass system’ to regulate the movement of people in Bengaluru.

According to an official memo signed by Bengaluru City Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao, passes will be issued to private security guards, petrol, gas and LPG retail employees, banks, ATMs and insurance company employees, delivery agents of food aggregator services, online pharmaceutical companies, e-Commerce platforms, print and electronic mediapersons, staff working for ration or grocery shops, diaries, meat, fish shops, animal-fodder shops, staff of medical establishments, staff of telecom and internet services, IT and IT-enablad service employees working for essential services, employees of cold storage and warehousing services, staff working for manufacturing units of essential commodities, staff engaged in transportation of essential goods, and staff of hotels and lodges accomodating tourists earmarked for COVID-19 quarantine facilities.

“Passes will be issued from the office of the jurisdictional DCP (Law & Order) and be made available 24×7 on submission of a standard application form,” Rao said.

Earlier on Wednesday, many citizens and delivery aggregator companies had raised concerns over the police allegedly restricting the movement of essentials. With online delivery services pointing out the same, Bengaluru City Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao has called for a meeting with representatives of the sector at 7 pm on Wednesday.

“I have called a meeting of online,e-commerce food, medicine, groceries, vegetables/ fruits or animal products delivery aggregatorsTODAYat 7 pm at My office,No1, Infantry Road, Bangalore. One representative from each agency may please come. We promise all cooperation, please come,” he wrote on Twitter, before issuing the memo on the ‘pass system’.

With the Ugadi festival coinciding with the lockdown Wednesday, most people in Bengaluru stayed indoors. A few, however, did venture out for minor festival shopping.

“While we saw a minor increase in traffic during the early hours of the day, the number has come down after noon,” a traffic police personnel on duty at Madiwala junction told indianexpress.com.

However, some found it difficult to find the desired products in shops as small-scale vendors ran out of stock.
“After people arrived in large numbers soon after PM Modi’s address yesterday night, we had run out of stock of most essentials. We opened the store this morning, but all shelves were emptied within an hour,” Ajmal Pasha, a grocery storekeeper in BTM Layout, said.

Karnataka begins stamping contacts of isolated citizens

Stepping up measures to identify individuals in contact with those already stamped (includes people who returned from abroad and patients tested positive), the Karnataka government has extended the stamping process to all primary and secondary contacts of such people.

“To check the coronavirus pandemic from reaching the community transmission stage, the government has decided to also stamp all primary and secondary contacts of those already stamped and are under isolation/quarantine. These persons will also be subjected to home quarantine,” BBMP Commissioner B H Anil Kumar said.

Village sealed, home minister lauds move

In a bid to prevent outsiders from entering the village and dwellers leaving the area, people of Madigondanahalli village in Ramanagara district of Karnataka have blocked all points of entry to the place.

Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai has lauded the move, urging other villages to do the same. “I congratulate the villagers for taking such an initiative. I would also urge other villages to ensure such measures are put in place,” he tweeted.

The same was reported from a couple of villages in Bagalkot district too.

Hotels distribute free food to daily wagers, needy

A few hotels in Bengaluru began distributing free food to daily-wage labourers on Wednesday. Some restaurants in Koramangala and Indiranagar areas, which began the initiative, pointed out the importance of being “support systems to each other in times of difficulty.”

Navaj Sherief, the owner of Saapaad, a restaurant in Koramangala, said, “We have plans to continue this at least till March 31 as of now. We were happy to serve people, including labourers, food-delivery executives and some policemen who were on duty in the area. We have taken care not to give away food in bulk to anyone, to ensure it reaches only the needy.”

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