Part 2: Police Diaries: Lockdown Memories. See Episode 1 here.
At 12:00 in the midnight all our DCP’s were in panic mode thinking that why the Commissioner has called in for an emergency meeting at this hour in the day?
We immediately planned on the process of distributing the passes as quickly and as efficiently as possible. How the pass should look and function?
Two separate passes were decided on, Personal pass and Vehicle Pass. The first decision we took was to not to distribute passes from the Police Commissioner’s Office. Instead it was decided to distribute them from the 8 DCP offices in the city. It was also decided to assign an officer to manage and keep track of both the Personal and Vehicle passes being distributed. And for this I handed over the responsibility to the Additional Commissioner of Police, Administration – Mr.Hemanth Nimbalkar.
I didn’t want a crowd to be accumulated at the Commissioner’s office to collect these passes. Mr.Hemanth, along with all the DCP’s finalised the pass distribution process by around 4:30 AM in the morning and once I approved the plan, we went to the Printing press in Chickpete by around 7AM in the morning we had already printed around 1 Lakh passes. After which we held an early morning press meet to let people know of the availability of these passes. The amount of people that gathered around all the DCP offices for the passes was staggering to say the least, Social Distancing was compromised, No masks were worn and nor was there any facility for sanitisation.
After 4 days of distribution, we began feeling we probably have given the passes to few undeserving people. We made a mistake and needed to only provide passes to people who really need it. Also, we began noticing duplication of passes although they had unique numbering on them.
We distributed 1 Lakh passes, but there were twice or thrice the number of passes circulating in the city So we took an immediate decision to change the passes to electronic mode. After discussing this with the DGP & ADGP Communication, Logistics & Modernization Mr. Pratap Reddy the new electronic pass was designed along with an app and made readily available. But the pass distribution responsibility in the city was still handled by Mr. Hemanth Nimbalkar. The biggest issue to handle during the lockdown was related more towards the emotional stuffs like Marriages, Death Ceremony and Child Birth as these 3 things are the corner-stones in every human life!
Even though there was a complete shutdown, it was also important to make sure people get their day-to-day use materials. Which shops to be allowed to be open and which to be closed for the coming future?
For this we joined hands with Corporation Commissioner B.H. Anil Kumar and their officers and decided to let only Media outlets, Provision stores, Grocery and Meat shops open. Along with this the delivery outlets like Swiggy, Zomato, Dunzo etc were selected to be provided with the passes. Passes were being issued day and night.
Even with all this, we had people coming to the front doors of Mr. Nimbalkar’s house in the middle of the night with dead bodies of their family & requesting for the travel passes. I really admire Mr. Nimbalkar and his team for carrying out this duty with all the verification and procedures followed in the right way. As issuing passes was not an easy process.
Along with the clearance from our own state, we needed to get clearance from the other states the people are travelling and clearance from the roads or to small villages that come in between the states. Again, thanks to Mr.Hemanth & his team, the pass distribution process was carried out extremely well.
Since application for passes was now made online, it was also important to know whose applications to be approved. Issuance of Passes was a big exercise. I would get phone calls throughout the day from VIP’s to jobless pedestrians asking for these passes. Believe it or not, A mammoth 4.46 Million people had applied for the pass in a span of about 10 days. What would be the point of lockdown if we gave 4+ million people with passes in a city of approximately 14 million people?
Each day the lockdown was reviewed by the Chief Minister. Some people would complain that the Police were being abusive to an extreme and not letting them walk around outside. Few would say the police aren’t doing their duty properly or there is no lockdown looking at these few people walking outside. Both the people and us the Police were under a lot of stress.
But we had resolved ourselves to be calm under all circumstance and handle any situation accordingly. To keep us motivated with this we started a concept called ‘Arrest Corona’ Corona is our main enemy, not people and we need to arrest it. Although it sounds foolish, with this motto we charged ahead with the hopes of stopping this virus from spreading. Using the entire Nation’s, State’s and City’s available resources we faced the Corona Virus head on as days piled on standing up to the situation was no longer just effort, service or duty. We were now emotionally invested as it became more of a practice or regimen.
🔺 Don’t miss Episode 1: How the Lockdown was implemented in Bangalore: Shri Bhaskar Rao, IPS – TheFutureofPR.com🔺
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