Amid lockdown, meagre movement of people in Coimbatore

Barricades placed to prevent entry to the Gandhipuram flyover in Coimbatore.

Barricades placed to prevent entry to the Gandhipuram flyover in Coimbatore.   | Photo Credit: S_SIVA SARAVANAN

All bus services stopped in four districts under the Coimbatore Division of TNSTC

With the lockdown announced by the Central government coming into full effect on Wednesday to stop the spread of COVID-19, meagre movement of the public was observed in Coimbatore city.

One of the busiest stretches of roads in the city, the Tiruchi Road wore a largely deserted look, with mostly two-wheelers and a few four-wheelers plying. Except for pharmacies and groceries, all other outlets including restaurants, saloons, bakeries and places of worship remained shut in Ramanathapuram.

Shanmugam (name changed), a grocery shop owner in Ramanathapuram, said that the lack of transport services has led to a reduction to the amount to goods procured in the shop. “People are not also buying enough as they are not coming out,” he said.

Mr. Shanmugam alleged that the police forced him to take multiple diversions before reaching wholesale markets in Ukkadam and Town Hall. “We are cooperating with the law. The police must allow us to go to markets freely,” Mr. Shanmugam said.

Two police constables from Ramanathapuram were deployed on 80 Feet Road to monitor the implementation of prohibitory orders. “People are taking their two-wheelers to mostly visit their friends or relatives within this area,” one of the constables said. Only cases of emergencies were allowed during vehicle checks, as evident by a car stopped by the constables, where the car driver showed a box of medicines before being allowed.

Small groups of people were found chatting outside closed shops despite the governments asking citizens to strictly stay indoors. “I have been a driver for 40 years. How can I stay idle at home?” asked R. Baskar, a resident of Ramanathapuram. He was chatting with three of his friends on Wednesday afternoon. “For how long could we keep watching the TV?” asked one of the members in the group.

Murugan (name changed), a resident of Sundarapuram, said he observed groups of people coming to buy vegetables and groceries in his area as well as Aathupalam on Wednesday morning.

K. Sooriya, a painting worker from Puliyakulam, was afraid that the lockdown would impact his income and medical expenses of parents. “Ration supplies will be a relief,” he said supporting the lockdown as it is for a larger cause.

Karthiayani, a housewife from Ammankulam Road was worried about the increase in the price of vegetables since the lockdown was announced on Tuesday. “Though we have adequate stock of rice and legumes, vegetables cannot be stocked much. I am afraid that the prices of vegetables may skyrocket in the coming days,” she said.

A policeman on duty in the city on Wednesday said that presence of vehicles and people were minimal and the police did not have to intervene much as people themselves were cooperative to the prohibitory order.

An official from Coimbatore Division of Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) said that all bus services have been stopped in the four districts under the Division (Coimbatore, Tiruppur, Erode and the Nilgiris), with 1,090 TNSTC buses (town and mofussil buses) not plying in Coimbatore district alone.

Respite for teachers

From Wednesday, school teachers have been asked not to come to schools and to work from their homes, said Coimbatore Chief Educational Officer (CEO) P. Usha.

“We have mailed all the schools in this regard,” she said.

In the mail, Ms. Usha asked the teachers to engage in “preparatory works” and to decide on teaching methods for the next academic year during this period. All evaluation works for Class XII examinations, which concluded on Tuesday, have been postponed till further notice, the CEO noted. Till Tuesday, the teachers were asked to come to schools despite it being closed for students.

(With inputs from

Wilson Thomas)

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 10:33:19 PM |

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