CHENNAI: The intensified lockdown that started on Friday streets saw deserted roads and vigilant cops who seized hundreds of vehicles, booked violators and collected fines.
Most residents walked to nearby shops to purchase essentials adhering to the government order.
Vehicle movement was high from 9am to 10am near Thousand Lights, Kodambakkam, Tambaram and Guindy. Later, only a handful of vehicles were seen around the city.
The main roads that connect various parts of the city like GST Road, Poonamallee High Road, Anna Salai and GNT Road were deserted. The police also shut down many flyovers and some roads have been made one-way to check vehicle movement.
Since it is the first day of the lockdown, police personnel allowed vehicles to ply on Anna Salai. They said that from 2pm onwards all roads leading to Anna Salai will be closed.
The police personnel have set up 288 checkposts across the city. Even while collecting fines, the police maintained social distancing. A police officer was seated under the temporary shed and as violators' vehicles were seized, they were made to stand in a line with one metre distance. With a QR code set at a distance, the violators were told to pay the fine through Paytm.
According to the city police, before 12.30pm around 300 vehicles were seized from violators for roaming without any purpose and around 100 more drivers were booked for using duplicate e-passes or the ones issued during the last lockdown.
In order to avoid physical contact with the public, the police used drones at Triplicane, Aminjikarai, Anna Nagar, Saidapet and Tambaram. One drone with a speaker and another with a high definition camera were used to monitor and communicate with people if the police saw a crowd.
With an unexpected ban on fish and meat shops in the city for the next 12 days, Kasimedu fishing harbour, always known for its crowded sea of people, was completely deserted. Depressed by the ban on fish sales, a vendor at Villivakkam threw loads of fish into the dustbin as they will rot in the next few days.
The Chennai city police have closed the borders with Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu. East Coast Road at Kanathur, Old Mahabalipuram Road at Navalur, Grand Southern Trunk Road at Perungalathur and Grand Northern Trunk Road at Puzhal are closed with barricades and large number of police personnel and health staff have been deployed to check vehicles entering and exiting the city.
“Only vehicles with essential goods and passengers with proper e-passes will be allowed in the city after checks. If they have any symptoms of COVID-19, they will be instantly shifted to a government hospital for treatment,” said Pallavaram Assistant Commissioner of Police, KPS Devaraj.