A norm observed more in breach

Customers throwing caution to the winds at the Gudimalkapur market.

Customers throwing caution to the winds at the Gudimalkapur market.  

Entrance at Gudimalkapur vegetable market is blocked by vehicles and people jostle

The Gudimalkapur vegetable market is a hub of activity at the crack of dawn. Wholesale buyers from surrounding areas and sellers from nearby areas bring their produce to trade. By 8 a.m., there is no space to walk. The entrance is blocked by vehicles and people jostle to get past each other. Social distancing? Well what’s that.

The problem is not unknown to officials. On April 10, a social media user tweeted: “Gudimalkapur vegetable market is not yet closed completely. People are gathering in hundreds daily and we are much concerned as we stay near it. I would like to request you to take please some action,” tagging IT Minister K.T. Rama Rao. On April 15, another user brought the issue to the notice of the police. “Please direct the concerned SHO Traffic Asif Nagar to remove all footpath encroachments beside vegetable market Gudimalkapur as they are not maintaining social distance in morning hours,” tweeted Balwant Reddy tagging the top police and civic officials. But things have remained the same.

“If I stand at a distance someone else will come and get in,” says Shankar outside the Union Bank branch in Attapur on Thursday morning. As the ₹1,500 dole has been credited to the accounts by the Telangana government, a queue has formed right from 9 a.m. and at noon, it has hardly moved. “We need the money and we also want to check whether it has been credited to the account,” says Shankar, who works as a mechanic in the area. With high demand for everything, social distancing remains just a norm on paper.

At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, a wispy young man who used to work in a restaurant, waits in the line to have food at the Annapurna canteen near Lakdi-ka-Pul. It is a queue with about 30 persons who wait their turn to have dinner before they walk back to the surrounding areas to sleep for the night. A few have the mask slung around the neck and social distancing is out of question. “For lunch, we have 300 meals but for dinner, fewer people come and we run out of food by 7.30 or 7.45 p.m.” says Raju, the supervisor at the canteen giving a clue to why people stand so close to each other.

A missed turn in the queue for social distancing can mean a night of hunger. They don’t want to risk it even if policemen from the nearby Saidabad PS come out waving their batons.

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 7:43:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/a-norm-observed-more-in-breach/article31359614.ece

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