Delhi Police puts up pickets, deploys flying squads to impose ban on crackers

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New Delhi, Nov 13 (PTI) From deploying pickets, forming flying squads and putting up posters to making announcements to create awareness among people, the Delhi Police is taking several measures to implement the ban on sale and use of firecrackers in the city this Diwali.

Earlier this week, the National Green Tribunal imposed a total ban on sale or use of all kinds of firecrackers in the National Capital Region from November 9 midnight to November 30 midnight.

The Delhi Police is also taking initiatives to ensure people follow COVID-19 guidelines such as wearing masks and maintaining social distancing norms.

Anil Mittal, Additional PRO (Delhi Police), said the focus has been on checking illegal sale and bursting of firecrackers and making sure that the festivities remain peaceful and harmonious. Special teams and flying squads have been formed at the police station and district levels respectively to ensure regular checking.

'Pickets have been placed at markets and places with high footfall to sensitise the public about wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. Public Address systems and banners are also being used. 'Machaans' have been set up at vantage points to check movements of suspicious and mischievous persons,' he said.

The officer said market welfare associations have been roped in to regulate the movement of traffic and shoppers. Door framed metal detectors have been installed at strategic locations in market places. PCR, Prakhar, Emergency Response Vehicle and Quick Reaction Team vans have been directed to work in tandem for effective handling of any law and order situation.

'Force has been internally mobilised to enhance police visibility. At the same time, police staff deployed on duty in markets places has been advised to take full precautions while regulating the crowd. Senior officers are closely monitoring the ground arrangements,' he said.

To create awareness, the Delhi Police also took to social media to warm the public about the ban on firecrackers and urged them to celebrate a clean and pollution-free Diwali.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Southeast) R P Meena said the priority is to ensure there is no overcrowding at public places, especially in market areas, and COVID-19 guidelines are followed strictly. Any violations will be strictly dealt with.

Elaborate arrangements have been put in place in areas such as the Central Market in Lajpat Nagar, Nehru Place and other markets. At Lajpat Nagar, one of the most busiest markets during festivities, extra force have been deployed along with volunteers to ensure social distancing is maintained, people wear masks and sanitisers are kept in shops, the senior police officer said.

Anti-sabotage teams have also conducted checks for suspicious activity.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) Sanjay Bhatia said, “We have deployed 13 companies -- 10 from our districts and three from outside.' 'Shopkeepers in market places have been asked to follow COVID-19 norms. We have told them not to allow too many people inside their shops and ensure the customers maintain social distancing and wear masks. We are also issuing challans to people for not following the social distancing norm,' he said.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (north) Anto Alphonse said awareness programs are being carried out via announcements on speakers through police booths and patrolling vehicles.

'We have placed barricades which segregate the crowd and helps in maintaining social distance. An anti-encroachment drive was carried out. Designated parking spots have been identified where people can park their vehicles. Challans have been issued,' he said.

Alphonse further said there were 403 temples and 30 markets in the north district and a security audit of all them has been conducted.

Gatherings were noticed in a one or two temples, and police staff have been deployed there to manage the crowd, the DCP said. PTI AMP/NIT IJT