Bengaluru: The Bengaluru city police have begun to issue passes only to people who provide essential services during the lockdown period, to contain the spread of novel coronavirus.
The city police will be providing individual and vehicle passes to those engaged in providing essential services as notified by the state government.
"This is just a basic relief pass to give succour to those who are holed up in the houses," said Bhaskar Rao, the Bengaluru city police commissioner.
The decision to make the process easier and hassle-free came after Rao met representatives of sectors who come under the essential services in Bengaluru on Wednesday.
Though people largely maintained social distancing while out for grocery shopping as well as for the festival of Ugadi, the Kannada new year, passes were necessitated after some service providers complained about being stopped from doing their respective duties.
In some cases, police resorted to using force to disperse people and send them back indoors.
"@CPBlr Sir I am very concerned with the unacceptable behaviour of police in roughing up people who are coming to work to carry out essential functions despite them carrying letters from cos. Pls prevent this thru whatever means you think will work," Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Biocon chief posted on Twitter, responding to one such complaint of alleged police excesses.
"For the convenience of citizens grocery shops and supermarkets seeking food articles can be open 24*7 all over the state. Cooperate with police by avoiding crowding" Praveen Sood, the states police chief said on Twitter.
Officials said that goods trucks moving essential supplies will be allowed into the state to ensure adequate supplies.
Rao clarified that all those service providers who apply for passes will get them but warned of serious consequences if people misused it.
The passes will have to be prominently displayed and authenticated with the company identification or any government issued ID, Rao clarified.
He said that goods vehicles above 2500 kgs, ambulances,oil and water tankers among other obvious non-passenger vehicles would not require these passes.
Private security guards in uniform are likely to be exempt but LPG suppliers, petrol bunk employees, ATM security guards, delivery personnel of food aggregators like Zomato, Swiggy as well as Amazon and Flipkart among others will require them. He said that street vegetable and fruit vendors will also be given passes.
This is more to ensure movement of goods and restriction of people.
Passes will be issued on submitting a prescribed form at the zonal Deputy police commissioner's office 24/7.
The person requiring the pass will have to give information like name, mobile number and a letter from the organisation they represent.
The forms and passes can be obtained online as well.
Rao said that those who misuse the pass will be "hounded" even long after the crisis is over.
Rao clarified that citizens will not require these passes but asked them to go grocery shopping only in their neighbourhoods and return back home at the earliest.
Rao said that some exceptions can be made specifically for emergency travel. He also said that those people who have to hospitals for dyalisys and other treatments will be allowed to and that he has a meeting with medical institutions on Thursday.
He said that the local police station becomes the nodal station for any issues.