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News18 » India
4-min read

Virus Lockdown: Uttar Pradesh Police's Emergency Services Flooded with Calls for Food and Medicine

The additional director general of 112 emergency services of state police told News18 that cops are working round the clock to ensure the lockdown is properly implemented and public inconvenience is minimal, while also asking people to call them only about urgent matter.

Qazi Faraz Ahmad | News18.com@qazifarazahmad

Updated:March 26, 2020, 5:35 PM IST
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Virus Lockdown: Uttar Pradesh Police's Emergency Services Flooded with Calls for Food and Medicine
Lucknow's Hazratganj market closed amid coronavirus pandemic. (Photo: PTI)

Lucknow: While the entire country has gone under lockdown for 21 days to contain the spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, the police are working round the clock to keep the situation under control. From food to medicines to general distress, the emergency number 112 in Uttar Prasesh has received more than 4,000 calls in the past two days of the lockdown regarding various concerns.

Additional director general of 112 emergency services of UP police, Asim Arun told News18, “The situation at the moment is a great challenge and the chief minister has directed us to do everything to ensure help to the weakest person of society. Of course, the government has a big set up and civil supplies are being sent to people and many people can afford them, too. However, there are many who cannot afford them at the same time or they are at some remote relocation where the supplies are not able to reach yet. We have been given a task by the CM to reach out to those people. This is just the beginning. I would not say that we have reached out to everyone, but in the last two days we have addressed more than 4,000 calls on 112. The number of calls has increased today due to awareness in people through media and other means. People now know that if they will call 112 then food, medicines and other emergency supplies will reach them.”

Speaking on the kind of calls that the police are receiving, the ADG said most people are contacting them for medicines and food. "There were people who were hungry for more than two days. We immediately respond to such calls and ensure that food or any other emergency requirement reaches them as soon as possible. We will be making the system more robust in the coming days. Our police response vehicles (PRV) have been stocked with government supplies including raw and cooked food. There were some incidents before this system was announced where police constables had spent their own money to feed the people. We will make sure that their money is reimbursed.”

“The urgency is very clearly there, it is going to be a long battle and we have to evolve our systems for that. Initially, the 112 emergency service is stepping in to normalise the situation. At the same time, the entire government is working round the clock to make sure that people don’t have to face any difficulty during the lockdown period. Supply lines are being created and 112 will continue to help as much as it can in the current situation. Our CM wishes that nobody should go hungry and no one should feel that the government is not standing with them in this hour of distress, and we are working to ensure that,” added ADG Asim Arun.

But how will the police force cope with the pressures of the prevailing situation? “We have 3,000 four-wheelers and 1,500 two-wheelers. Our people were working in two shifts but we decided to make it three shifts as we believe that our jawans should also get time to relax and prepare themselves as we have a lengthy battle to fight. We did not get enough time to train our jawans on what needs to be done and what not, so we are training them via videos so that even the last constable knows what is to be done. We have a big fleet of 4,500 PRVs working overtime to deal with the situation. Many of our call centre employees are also working from their homes. We have arranged for new software and also some laptops for enabling them to do that,” the officer replied.

So what would be his message to the people and the police at this time? “The people can call us about anything they need be it medicines, vegetables, or food, but it should be done only when it’s a dire necessity. Fundamentally, people should call us only in situation when there is urgency or emergency.”

“My message to the policemen will be that we have to help people and not suppress them. It pains me when I see police caning people in such situations; this is not required. It is our prime responsibility to ensure the lockdown and it should be done. I have given very clear instructions to use technology to help people instead of harassing them,” said the ADG, before heading off to a key meeting in Lucknow on Thursday.

According to government figures, the total number of COVID-19 positive cases in Uttar Pradesh has reached 42 with four patients identified on Thursday. There are eight cases from Agra, three from Ghaziabad, 14 from Noida, eight from Lucknow, two from Pilibhit and one each from Lakhimpur Kheri, Kanpur, Moradabad, Varanasi, Jaunpur, Baghpat and Shamli.

Till date, 1,493 people have tested negative while the test results of 95 people are still awaited. More than 15 lakh people have been scanned at the international border while 2,188 villages on the Indo-Nepal border have been sanitised.

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