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Gangtok: Flower Pots on MG Marg Benches to Dissuade 'Crowd Sitting' amid Corona

Gangtok, March 24, 2020:

At a time when the science community across the world is in a frantic rush to develop a vaccine for the serial killing coronavirus, the authorities in Sikkim’s Gangtok have a simple message: prevention is better than cure.
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Earlier today, the district administration of Gangtok took a rather astute measure to mitigate the spread of the virus. To dissuade public gatherings before the State heads into lockdown at 6 AM tomorrow, the authorities placed earthen flower pots on the iconic benches along MG Marg, the commercial nerve centre of the capital Gangtok.
The purpose of placing the pots there, it was said, is to prevent “crowd sitting”, which makes perfect sense as MG Marg, and especially the benches there, are crowd pullers. And yes, coronavirus is said to leap from one person to the next through contact. These are a part of several measures that the Sikkim Government is taking to ensure that people do not congregate in public and stay rooted in their homes.
Meanwhile, ahead of the closure of the State tomorrow, the only entry point to Sikkim, Rangpo Checkpoint, has been closed down and the people coming home were thoroighly checked upon arrival for any traces of the virus.
At the same time, a case has filed against a ‘mob’ at Assam Lingzey who prevented the officers, police and medical team from performing their duty and also allegedly manhandled the medical team. 68 students (Chief Minister Merit Scholarship Scheme) who were out of the State were brought back yesterday and were to undergo mandatory quarantine at SICUN, Assam Lingzey, were not allowed to do so by the villagers, who feared for their safety. The villagers felt that there were no precautions put in place before bringing the students for quarantine.
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The FIR, filed by the authorities at the Ranipool Police Station reads, “It has been reported that the villagers of Assam Lingzey agitated and gathered a mob to protest the entry of students into SICUN, Assam Lingsey. As per the report about 250 people gathered into a mob and prevented the SDM/Pakyong and medical team, police and other law enforcement authorities from from performing their duties. It has also been reported that the medical team was also manhandled by the mob.”
Stating that this is a gross violation of the prohibitory orders in place, a case has been registered against the accused under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Sikkim will be placed under lockdown from 6 am on Wednesday till March 31 to check the spread of coronavirus.
During this week-long lockdown, all shops and business establishments will remain shut throughout the state, he said. Private vehicles and taxis will not be allowed to ply, Rai said.
Essential services such as pharmacies, petrol pumps, LPG supply and movement of government and Army vehicles have been kept out of the purview of the lockdown.
Other essential services such as telecom, internet, postal, banks and ATMs will remain operational during the period. Civil defense personnel will also be exempted.
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