Panic-stricken, residents now following all rules

Increasing casualties, shortage of oxygen cylinders and non-availability of vaccination causing fear

Panic-stricken, residents now following all rules

Self-policing? A road wears a deserted look without any police surveillance in Amritsar on Sunday. Photo: Vishal Kumar

Charanjit Singh Teja

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 2

Contrary to last year’s lockdown, residents are taking the weekend lockdown more seriously in the city now.

Reason: High death toll during the second wave of Covid-19, which has made people more conscious about the pandemic and they are following restrictions without police surveillance in the city.

It has been observed that most of time, there was no police movement on most of the roads, but markets were closed and roads were deserted. During a visit to various areas of the city, it has been observed that the residents preferred staying inside.

From Golden Gate to Putlighar Chowk, there was no barricading or police checkpoint till Sunday afternoon, but only a few people, who were involved in some essential services, were out on roads.

Scorching heat is also one of the reasons that residents were not seen going out, but the higher number of casualties, shortage of oxygen cylinders and non-availability of vaccination has also caused panic among residents about the pandemic.

Jatin Kumar, a delivery boy with a food chain, said: “Last year, the police used force to keep people inside. Now, they seem lenient but the public is more conscious about their health. It is panic of the second wave of Covid-19 that people are avoiding sitting in restaurants and organising parties. It is good for society as the health system of the country is already unable to tackle the pandemic.”

“People don’t dread the virus but the poor health system. The oxygen is a basic thing which should be available to everyone, but hundreds of people have lost their lives owing to non-availability of oxygen support. The government postponed its vaccination drive due to its shortage. So, people are preferring staying indoors rather than struggling to get a hospital bed,” said Kuljeet Singh, a resident.

However, the government has also exempted several services from the weekend lockdown and the construction and industrial labourers were allowed to work.

Gurpreet, a painter, said: “People from low economic groups are major victims of weekend lockdown. They lose their daily wages due to restrictions. Otherwise, the middle class, service class, businessmen and well-off people enjoy the weekend during lockdown. Daily income is a major concern for workers for their livelihood. The government can’t impose more restrictions without showing concern for the livelihood of poor people. Everyone fears Covid but the circumstances don’t allow every person to stay at home.”

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