Covid guidelines thrown to wind

Heavy rush at major markets of Field Ganj, Chaura Bazaar, Ghumar Mandi

Covid guidelines thrown to wind

People at a market during curfew relaxation hours on Monday. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, May 10

Despite the 17-hour daily curfew, which came in force from today, massive rush was witnessed all over the city. Covid norms such as social distancing and wearing masks were thrown to the wind.

The major markets in the city, including Field Ganj, Chaura Bazaar, Ghumar Mandi, Model Town, Kesar Ganj Complex, Mochpura etc., witnessed a huge rush of residents.

The roads saw serpentine queues of vehicles making it difficult for pedestrians to move on roads. Gurdit Singh, a vegetable vendor, said residents are behaving as if things will not be available tomorrow.

“There is a rush of customers since early morning at 8:30 am. Though the vegetables etc come under essential products still today, it was unexpected rush. Perhaps people speculate that curfew hours may extend,” said the vendor.

A salesman at a karyana store in Dandi Swami said, “There is no social distancing anywhere in the market. Neither the shopkeepers are following the protocol nor the customers for the simple reason that there are just 3-4 working hours and if in this time-slot we start following guidelines, the customers will go elsewhere”.

The residents feel that this was not a viable option. “You see the rush. It seems entire city has come on the roads. There is no social distancing and majority of people are not wearing the masks properly. These few hours are more than enough for spreading the deadly virus”, rued Kumud, a homemaker, who had gone to her tailor to get the stitched outfit, lying with tailor for long.

It was yet more miserable condition in interior part of the city, where markets are densely populated. “People have literally come out today to accomplish the pending works. This is more dangerous”, said Pankaj, having a cycle repair shop in Field Ganj.

It may be mentioned here that to break the chain, most of the industrialists and shopkeepers have already voiced out for a complete lockdown in the city for at least 10-15 days.

Talking to The Tribune, DS Chawla, from United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association, said everything in bicycle industry is inter-linked. Most of the MSMEs have the raw material for about a week or so and after that there will be no production. “From 5 am to 12 noon, even if shops are opened, it will hardly serve any purpose. The payments are stuck, we are not getting raw material smoothly. Everything is disturbed. Complete lockdown is the only solution,” he said.

Sunil Mehra, president, Beopar Mandal, said there is a need to strengthen the health system now.

“Partial Shut down is not the solution as industry is interlinked. Till 12 noon, we can just go to shops and clean them but there can not be any business as buyers will not come. There is hardly retail customer in the market. Either you instruct to open everything at least till 3-4 pm or go for a complete shutdown,” rued Mehra.

‘At least give one dose to all’

Onkar Singh Pahwa from Avon Cycles said, “Everyone above 18 years of age should be given at least one jab. There will certainly be a difference if one is vaccinated. All can’t afford to shell out Rs250 for a vaccination, they should be given the dose by the government,” said Pahwa.

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