Coronavirus | Businesses down shutters, industries function in Coimbatore

The usually busy wholesale grocery market on R.G. Street saw only a few customers on Monday morning.  

As the district entered into a two-week lockdown to control the spread of COVID-19, businesses downed shutters in Coimbatore and industries in the essential sectors continued operation.

Shops in the main commercial areas of the city – Gandhipuram, RS Puram and Big Bazaar Street – did not open on Monday. “The compliance is total and shops will remain closed during the lockdown period,” said C. Balasubramanian, president of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Coimbatore.

Medical shops continued to serve customers, eateries and bakeries were open for parcel service, and grocery shops stopped sales by noon. However, in some areas, a few shops were kept open well past noon too.

About 30 % Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises in the district that were supplying to essential sectors and exporting units operated on Monday. Some of the large-scale companies had declared holiday for the lockdown period. On the labour front, compared to migrant workers a larger number of workers from other districts in Tamil Nadu had returned to their home towns. “So, even if industries want to operate, they cannot because of worker shortage,” said J. James, president of Tamil Nadu Association of Cottage and Tiny Enterprises.

“We have urged the industries to cooperate for the lockdown and focus on health and safety,” said MV Ramesh Babu, president of Coimbatore District Small Industries Association.

Nearly 25 % workers in the construction sector left during the first lockdown last year. On Monday, projects that had workers and materials on the site continued. The builders had stocked materials for a week or so and so there were no problems, said Paneerselvam, president of the Builders Association of India, Coimbatore.

Banks, post offices were open. Some bank branches had 50 % staff. In some branches, the staff strength was already low. As May 10 was a salary day, banks saw a heavy rush of customers, said a bank employee.

At the wholesale and retail vegetable markets in the city, there was a heavy rush on Saturday and Sunday. So, customer walk-in was low on Monday. Following the announcement of the lockdown, customers wanted to buy more vegetables and hence, there was a heavy rush during the weekend, said M. Rajendran, president of the Thyagi Kumaran Market vegetable traders’ association.

At Anna Market, only 50 % of the shops were open. Prices were low, sales were limited, and stocks were also limited, said Suresh, secretary of the market.

A few autorickshaws were seeing plying on Monday morning in the city. However, two-wheeler movement was almost normal across the city.

In Tiruppur, the exporting garment units operated on Monday. Two-wheeler movement has been curtailed and industries are transporting workers through vans and buses. The factories operated with the workforce available. “The current lockdown is expected to not affect industries and still be effective,” said Raja M. Shanmugham, president of Tiruppur Exporters’ Association.

A total of 2,500 police personnel were deployed across Coimbatore district to enforce lockdown restrictions. They conducted static vehicle checks and patrols.

In city limits, 1,000 police personal were involved in surveillance, vehicle checks and law and order management. The rural police had 1,500 personnel on lockdown duty in their limits including check posts along Tamil Nadu-Kerala inter-State border.

The police started vehicle checks from morning to restrict the movement of people who come out unnecessarily. Post noon, they permitted vehicles plying for emergency services and those transporting essential commodities.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 6:14:38 AM |

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