It was a mad mad rush hour from 6 am to 10 am in the city as people thronged grocery stores and vegetable markets as shops of essential items opened during this period on the first day of Covid-19 curfew imposed by district administration following the huge surge in coronavirus infection cases in the state’s commercial capital.
As shops of grocery, vegetables and fruits opened in the morning people gathered in large numbers for buying these essential items, defeating the very purpose behind imposing the curfew in the first place.
The huge gatherings in vegetable markets and serpentine queues outside grocery stores with no respect for Covid-19 protocols, in fact, increased the risk of speedy spread of coronavirus in the city. Police were seen making efforts in vain to regulate the crowd that was desperate to stock up essential items.
Policemen patrolling with jeeps were seen reprimanding shopkeepers near Pandharinath police station, Nandlalpura Mandi, Rajmohalla, Shivaji Nagar vegetable mandis but their words hardly had any impact. Policemen had to drive the crowd away from Nandlalpura Mandi as panic-stricken buyers were not listening to the “Men in Khaki”.
The wholesale grocery stores of Malharganj, Siyaganj, Chhawani area also saw huge crowds and there was a ruckus to buy goods. Similar scenes were visible in other areas of the city for ration.
Uncontrollable situation in Itwariya market
The situation in the vegetable market in Itwariya Bazaar was uncontrollable. Numerous people were flocking the market to buy vegetables. Many people, who were going to buy vegetables, faced a lot of difficulty amidst queues of vehicles on the streets and heavy rush. Such was the scene in that neither district administration officers nor police stepped in to control the situation. The scenes of huge crowds were in fact “scary” owning to Covid-19 situation.
The administration's decision to keep grocery stores and vegetable markets as well as shops of essential items open between 6 am and 10 am has led to a pandemonium in the Pandemic. This move may trigger more cases and may put more pressure on the already pressured system. Instead, if it was decided to keep grocery and essential items and vegetable shops open on alternate days, the crowd would have been less. People can buy/store grocery/provision for a week. Hence, in this judicious manner, shoppers could have avoided a congested market area and shop safely. Likewise, if instead of keeping other shops/business establishments like the ironsmith and clothes shops closed, they were allowed to do business on alternate days or may be in the Even and Odd manner, all traders could have been in circulation but yet avoid the crowd and thus keep the economy rolling.