Lockdown relaxation triggers crowding

A view of ‘busy’ Madurai road in Tirunelveli Junction on Monday.

A view of ‘busy’ Madurai road in Tirunelveli Junction on Monday.  


The lockdown relaxation shockingly opened the floodgates here on Monday with all the roads getting mobbed by the public riding their bikes and cars at will as they did before the pandemic outbreak and more than 90% of the business establishments resuming their operations.

As Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Tenkasi and Kanniyakumari districts have been categorised as ‘orange zone’ following steep fall in the number of fresh COVID -19 cases, lockdown has been relaxed in these districts. Unfortunately, the relaxation led to the crowding of all roads in these four districts with the bikes and the cars moving around freely.

All the four Car Streets around Swami Nellaiyappar Temple were bustling with activities on Monday as all shops remained open and the vendors selling the products from their roadside temporary shops.

The ‘physical distancing’ being stressed by everyone went for a toss in all the places though the officials had warned that the traders who fail to ensure this preventive strategy in front of their shops would have to close their shops.

The only solace is that the public waiting in front of the banks could be seen following ‘physical distancing’ as the securities in front of the banks were enforcing it strictly.

In the wake of relaxation, special buses were operated from the Vaeinthaankulam new bus-stand for taking health workers to their workplaces in Thoothukudi, Tiruchendur, Tenkasi, Sankarankovil and Papanasam.

However, the officials working with other government departments, who had come to the bus-stand for going to their workplaces after the government had announced that all vital departments would work with 33% workforce, were not allowed to board the bus though they were ready to pay the fare.

Officials with the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation said the government, while giving instructions for operating the special buses for health workers, had not allowed the operation of buses regularly. Hence, the officials of other government departments could be taken only after the formal announcement from the government, they said.

In Thoothukudi, the more than 70% of the shops including a few jewellery and the textile showrooms were opened with the people coming out freely for their shopping. As there was no ‘physical distancing’ in any of the shops that transacted business on Monday, Collector Sandeep Nanduri and the Superintendent of Police Arun Balagopalan ordered the closure of the shops that were not allowed to function under the lockdown relaxation.

As similar situation prevailed in Tenkasi and Kanniyakumari districts also, the police had to intervene to bring back orderliness on the roads.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 5:46:38 PM |

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