COVID-19 pandemic

Chandigarh heaves a sigh of relief

Shops open 10 am to 6 pm; residents responsibly maintain social distance

Chandigarh heaves a sigh of relief

Sandeep Rana

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28

After three days of confusion, city residents today heaved a sigh of relief as the UT Administration allowed opening of grocery shops from 10 am to 6 pm.

It was the fourth experiment the UT Administration did in less than a week for making beleaguered residents get essentials such as milk, vegetables, fruits and medicines.

There was no panic buying today. Now, people know the shops are open whole day so they are not crowding the markets. If the system continues, prices of commodities will not be inflated — Baljinder Singh Bittu, Chairman, FOSWAC

From starting selling vegetables and fruits at community centres to calling up grocery stores for home delivery, all efforts came a cropper for the ill-prepared Administration.

Though the initial reaction to the UT move of opening shops drew criticism, most people found it convenient as all other measures to bring respite to residents had failed over the last few days.

Earlier, there was a perception that the UT move will lead to overcrowding in markets and defeat the purpose of social distancing. However, the authorities had marked circles at a distance for people to queue up outside shops at several markets. Customers too were found observing the distance. Vehicles were not permitted in markets, which further helped preventing overcrowding.

UT fourth time lucky

March 23: UT Administration sells vegetables, milk in community centres

March 25: Changes plan; starts door to door supply of essential items

March 26: Changes mind again; floats contact numbers of grocery stores online for home delivery; delivers vegetables in buses

March 27: Opens shops from 10 am to 6 pm

“There was no rush at the Sector 22, 23 and 24 markets I visited. We have told people to buy only according to their need and not to stock consumables,” said Rakesh Kanojia, president of Social Welfare Association in Sector 24.

Congress councillor Devinder Singh Babla, who is Leader of the Opposition in the MC House, said, “In my ward, people religiously observed social distancing and stood in the area marked outside shops by the MC.”

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