Along with medical professionals, police officers too, are the frontliners who deserve all our appreciation. These forces have been putting their life on the line, on a daily basis just to take care of us and in return, they merely expect us to stay home. So in a conversation with Lucknow J.C.P Naveen Arora, we discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the police department and the city as a whole.

What is the 'then & now' picture of this pandemic?

When the first lockdown was imposed, we noticed that the rules and regulations set by the authorities were being followed religiously by most of the citizens because of course it is a whole new experience. This in turn, helped us to contain the virus and reduce its spread, as compared to the other states and countries where the cases have been soaring. But it all took an unfortunate turn when the migrant labourers started making their way back home which was only natural. They were all left without jobs and definitely, anyone would want to be with their families during such difficult times. Although the government has been doing their best to help them out, the labourers were mostly scared of the concept of 'quarantine' because there was a gap in awareness and some were skipping tests too.

Even if someone had a fever, they'd usually pop a pill to get a clean chit in the face of a thermal scanner. That's how the disease mostly began spreading in the interiors of the state. Then the government had to announce Unlock 1.0 to recover the economic conditions of the country and the citizens here started disregarding the gravity of this pandemic. This bolstered the upsurge in the number of cases. Presently, 250-300 cases are being reported in Lucknow on a daily basis because the 'will have to live with this virus' attitude has taken over people and even home-quarantine guidelines are not being stringently followed.

Has the attitude of people changed?

The awareness regarding the virus has increased by leaps and bounds but the fear amidst people has alarmingly dropped to really low levels, which shouldn't be the case as of now. People are banking on their immunity system to save them from this deadly virus and are taking measures to increase their immunity, rather than taking the necessary precautions. To make it even more understandable for the citizens, we've launched several campaigns and PSAs, so that the people are always informed about the current updates and how to battle this pandemic in effective ways!

How do you classify an area as a containment zone?

Earlier as per the guidelines, if an area was found to have 3 positive cases, it was declared as a containment zone and if a locality had one patient, it was termed as the epicentre. But the regulations have been updated as per the situations at hand and now even if one case is detected, the epicentre will be declared as the hotspot. Accordingly we set the barriers and the different teams involved in the well-being of the citizens, decides the area to be sealed. We set-up our forces in that particular area and restrict all sorts of movements within it except for the essential services.

How long does it take for a place to be sealed?

It surely doesn't happen immediately. First, we conduct tests and take random samples from areas. The test results take a day's time and the CMO sends the positive reports to the collector so that he can declare the area as a hotspot. The collector then approves the reports according to the government rules. After approval, a joint team goes to the specific area and within 24-36 hours, the area gets sealed.

What should the residents do if their locality hasn't been sealed yet?

We have independent and integrated control rooms for complaint redressals of the citizens. We're also available online, if anyone wants to reach out to us digitally. In case we are not able to barricade a certain area, we immediately place two of our officers in that locality for further look-out. Initially when the containment zones were less in the city, we had formed WhatsApp groups for the residents of that particular hotspot zone, which included our officers too. So anyone in need of anything within that area, could just message on that group and their needs would be met. This practise is still prevalent in the nearby townships, with a handful of containment zones.

Could you please tell us about the 'Alert Citizen Award'?

Back when the pandemic was newly introduced to us, surprisingly, there were two citizens who had self-declared their travel and had persistently urged the authorities to conduct a COVID-19 test on them. Even though they didn't have a temperature or any other symptoms, they were tested positive and were termed as asymptomatic cases. These two patients even followed a complete 28-day quarantine routine, to absolutely assure that they were free of the virus. This definitely called for recognition, as till date, many people are still afraid of getting tested and are hiding their health status. So we handed out the Alert Citizen Award to them, as an acknowledgement of their honesty and sense of responsibility towards the community.

How has COVID-19 taken a toll on the police force?

Since many officers are at the front line of this pandemic, there are bound to be cases among us. As of now, there are around 50 officers who are affected by this virus or have been so and are fine right now. In the DGP office, in the anti-corruption team, there has been a death. Even the deputy SP of Hardoi who was admitted in Lucknow, passed away due to this virus. We're usually the first responders in such a scenario and due to this commitment, we had set our safety regulations from the very first day. We've have been using face shields, sanitizers, gloves and even PPE suits when and where required.

We have different standard operating procedures according to areas we're handling. We've also advised the officers to isolate themselves at home, if possible. It is really difficult for us to be assured of safety as we're always attending to the public and engaging with them. To combat this pandemic, we even have a covid special reserve force of 200 cops, who are divided in 4 groups of 50 and are placed in schools and colleges. The task forces placed in isolation areas or hotspots zones, are being rotated constantly every month and are replaced by these reserve forces. The officers are also being given immunity boosting foods and beverages during their 12-hour duty and are being sent for routine check-ups. Our buildings and cars are also sanitized daily! Everyday, we have to put our heads into situational leadership tactics, which also keeps us occupied with constant briefing, debriefing and training sessions.

A message to all our readers

Even during such a grave situation at hand, the authorities are putting their best foot forward to make our lives convenient and in order to keep it that way, do follow the directives as suggested by the medical professionals. Even if you're stepping out for your essentials, do not forget your masks and sanitisers and maintaining a distance is an absolute must!

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Made in Jaipur pair of gold & enamel elephants to be auctioned in Sotheby's auction, London

An invaluable lot will be up for trade in London and these invaluable pieces have made it to the Sotheby auction lot.

The Sotheby's Auction in London has indexed a long list of over 350 objects from the late Patricia Edwina Victoria Mountbatten which will be exhibited as the lot. These items from the eldest daughter of Britain's last Viceroy of India would go under the hammer on March 24, where a priceless pair of Made in Jaipur gold and enamel elephants will also be up for trade on March 24. Facts suggest that these were given by Louis Mountbatten to his wife, as a present to mark their 24th wedding anniversary in 1946. The pair had become engaged at Viceroy's House in Delhi in 1922.

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Lucknow witnesses the historic unveiling of the world's largest Khadi mask on U.P. Diwas

A mask measuring 150 sq. meters was unveiled which trumped the old world record of 72.29 sq. meters.

Lucknow witnessed a string of celebrations to mark the state's foundation day, U.P. Diwas on Sunday. Among the major highlights were the launch of the world's largest mask crafted from Khadi and an innovative Khadi fashion show. The Chief Minister launched a 150 sq. metre mask developed by designer Manish Tripathi in collaboration with the Odra Foundation and Uttar Pradesh Khadi and Village Industries Board, Government of Uttar Pradesh.

The making of the world's largest Khadi mask

Motivated by the government's initiatives for a self-reliant India like 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' & 'Vocal for Local', Manish envisioned a mask that could make it to the Guinness Book of world records. For his endeavour, he sought help from the Khadi and Village Industries Board. He was offered 2 metre of the Khadi fabric from each of UP's 75 districts by the Additional Chief Secretary of the Board. In addition to this, his project was also aided by Indian Institute of Crafts and Design, Jaipur.

The designer traveled to 10 states across the country for collecting fabric for the mask including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar, Haryana and Rajasthan. The accumulated cloth was stitched together into a mask measuring 150 sq. meters which trumped the old world record of 72.29 sq. meters. It is proposed that the raw material of the mask would be reused for producing alternative products by the self-help groups which would be later introduced in the market.

Khadi Fashion Show organised in Lucknow at the Avadh Shilpgram

On the occasion of U.P. Diwas, Avadh Shilp gram in Lucknow witnessed an uncoventional fashion show inspired by the indigenous fabric. In a spectacle to behold, fashion models from Delhi and Mumbai sported the Khadi costumes designed by notable designers like Ritu Beri, Manish Tripathi, Rina Dhaka, Asma Hussain, Runa Banerjee. The fashion show event was graced by the Minister of Khadi & Gram Udyog.

Proud moment for Lucknow: City girl marches in the NCC contingent at the R-Day parade

A resident of Thakurganj, Khushi aspires to serve in the Indian armed forces one day.

Republic day 2021 marks a moment of immense pride and joy for Lucknow. Khushi Srivastava, from Lucknow marched in the prestigious Republic day parade at Delhi's Rajpath. She is the only girl from the city to have found a place in the 200-member contingent which is constituted of cadets from different regions of the country. Khushi, an alumnus of City Montessori School is a final year student of BSc at Lucknow's Isabella Thoburn College.

Aspirations to serve in the Indian Armed forces one day

Reportedly, the young girl is an Under officer in the senior NCC wing of the 19 UP Girls Battalion and she cracked the four-stage selection process after meticulous training and rigorous practice. A resident of Thakurganj, Khushi aspires to serve in the Indian armed forces one day.

Girl credits all her success to her parents

Khushi further stated that though NCC is considered a tough choice for girls, the strenuous nature of activities makes them more interesting for her. After gaining exposure at the Thal Sainik Camp last year, she decided to apply for the esteemed Republic day parade. Crediting all her success to her parents, she expressed gratitude for their consistent support.

The contingent officer of U.P. girls' battalion informed that the group from Uttar Pradesh included three from Agra, two from Bareilly and one each from Lucknow, Ghaziabad, Aligarh & Prayagraj. Uttar Pradesh's participation in the Republic day parade was also marked by the four boys selected from the state; 3 from Agra and 1 from Gorakhpur.

Indigenous products shine the brightest at Lucknow's Hunar Haat

The fair is giving its visitors a peek into the market of local products, thereby boosting the spirit of a self-reliant India.

The recently inaugurated Hunar Haat in Lucknow has managed to grab a lot of attention from the city folks, owing to the amazing artwork that's been put on display here. The most loved products at the fair, are the natively crafted items that have been designed by Indian artisans and craftsmen. In two days of the launch, the art-fair has become one of the busiest hubs in the city, flocked by visitors who are enjoying the interesting range of creative artworks.

From Pashmina Shawls to Kalamkari Sarees, a display reflecting the diversity

As per reports, the second day of the event saw a tremendous increase in footfall. Organized under the theme of 'One District One Product', the innovative market is displaying products like the famous Chikankari from Lucknow, carpets from Bhadohi and Gorakhpur's terracotta items amongst others. Reportedly, these items are attracting greater audiences to the fair that is in town till the 4th of February.

The artworks produced under ODOP have made their maiden entry to this event organized by the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs. The fair is witnessing participation and products by artisans and craftsmen from across the country including a long list of states and Union territories-Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya.

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The fair presents a captivating lay of the finest artworks like Ajrakh textiles, art metalwares, appliqué, Batik, Banarasi sarees, Bagh prints, Bastar art, Bandhej, block prints, herbal products, brass metal bangles, Kota silk, wood carvings, cane and bamboo products, canvas painting, Chikankari, pashmina shawls. Additionally, the Hunar Haat in Lucknow is also showcasing handwoven textile works like Mangalgiri sarees, kalamkari, leather products, lac bangles and others.

A step towards promoting locally developed artworks

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While launching the fair on Saturday at Avadh's Shilpgram, the Chief Minister stated that the event would provide a platform for the promotion of locally developed artistic products. The event is offering its audiences a peek into the market of local products, thereby boosting the spirit of a self-reliant India.

Knock Knock

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While the fair boasts of having something for everyone, we wish some artworks displayed here could be as desirable to our pockets as they are to our eyes! But it is not every day that one finds the best art from the different corners of the country exhibited together at one spot in Lucknow. This is why this fair counts for a must-visit. Love it or not; It is impossible that you return without losing your heart to something at this extravagant fair. If you happen to hit this place, do not forget to tag us in your clicks on Instagram.

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UP mandates liquor license for domestic storage over the prescribed limit

According to the latest guidelines, only six litres of alcohol would be allowed per person or in a house without a license.

With the introduction of the revised excise policy, booze consumers need to be extra alert and careful about their liquor stocks at home. The Uttar Pradesh government has mandated the presence of a license for keeping liquor stocks above the prescribed limit within the household. As per the rules entailed in the policy, citizens would be required to have a license for purchasing, transporting and stocking liquor in excess of the authorized retail limit.

A limit of six litres per person or a single household

According to the latest guidelines, only six litres of alcohol would be allowed per person or in a house without a license. If an individual wants to consume more than this, he would have to obtain a license from the Excise Department at an annual fee of ₹ 12,000. In addition to this, ₹ 51,000 would have to be deposited as security money under the specified conditions.

"The state government has set a revenue target of Rs 6,000 crore more than Rs 34,500 crore in the year 2021-22, against Rs 28,300 crore in the year 2020-21 of the Excise Department. As a result, 7.5 percent increase in annual license fees for country liquor, foreign liquor retail shops, and model shops for the year 2021-22." stated the Additional Chief Secretary of the Excise Department. He further informed that there has been no increase in the retail shop license fees of beer through the revised policy.

New policy promotes liquor production in the state

The ADC also mentioned that the new policy encapsulates provisions that would encourage liquor production in the state. As per one of its clauses, the liquor produced in the state from the state-grown fruits will be exempted from consideration duty for the next five years.

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