Nine days into the lockdown, people are now craving for their favourite food and some are reaching out to the police helpline to satiate their desire.
To keep up with the rising needs of assistance among the lockdown, the government has set up emergency police and District Magistrate helplines that residents across all states can call for essential services in case of emergencies.
However, the helpline in Uttar Pradesh seems to have been flooded with people asking authorities for urgent deliveries of snacks, junk food and sweetmeats.
On Sunday, for instance, a particularly "hangry" man from Rampur sent an SOS to the police and DM's office, asking for four samosas 'with chutney'.
After he made repeated calls and harassed the authorities, the police decided to provide him with four samosas. But as soon as he finished with the snack, the district magistrate asked him to clean a drain as punishment.
Rampur district magistrate Aunjaneya Kumar Singh said that he had decided to shame those who were misusing the facility provided during the lockdown.
All those doing so are being made to sweep roads and clean drains.
"We are receiving several calls on our helpline number in which people are asking for pizza and samosas. So, we have decided to punish such callers in order to discourage others who are taking advantage of the situation," he stated.
The punishment? Cleaning drains and sweeping roads in return of the misuse.
4 समोसा भिजवा दो... चेतावनी के बाद आखिर भिजवाना ही पड़ा।— DM Rampur (@DeoRampur) March 29, 2020
अनावश्यक मांग कर कंट्रोल रूम को परेशान करने वाले व्यक्ति से सामाजिक कार्य के तहत् नाली सफाई का कार्य कराया गया। pic.twitter.com/88aFRxZpt2
A police officer in Lucknow said that they have been getting calls for 'paan', pizza and, yes, even liquor.
"One caller said that he was getting serious withdrawal symptoms because he did not get his quota of liquor. We asked him to call up a doctor instead," the officer said.
Some children have also been calling up the helpline asking for ice-creams, pastries and even a football.
However, the police are taking care to respond to genuine callers. A pregnant teacher was provided food when she called the helpline. In another "sweet" gesture, cops in Lucknow even delivered four rasgullas to him.
UP DM's Twitter handle has also been tweeting images of all defaulters who were caught misusing the helpline and were later made to clean drains and sweep roads.
नाली साफ कर सामाजिक कार्य में योगदान देकर प्रशासन को सहयोग देते व्यवस्था का दुरुपयोग करने वाले व्यक्ति।— DM Rampur (@DeoRampur) March 29, 2020
राष्ट्रीय आपदा के समय आप सभी का सहयोग प्रार्थनीय है।
जिम्मेदार नागरिक बनें।
स्वस्थ रहें। सुरक्षित रहें। pic.twitter.com/4vMMp97OLp
(With inputs from IANS)