Corporation cracks whip on violators, begins sealing shops

Inviting trouble: Customers crowding in front of a shop on Tuesday.

Inviting trouble: Customers crowding in front of a shop on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: R. Ragu

Over 300 businesses in city shut down for not enforcing safety norms

With relaxation of lockdown norms, a number of commercial establishments have reported instances of crowding in the past two days, increasing the risk of COVID-19 spread.

The Greater Chennai Corporation sealed around 100 shops and issued show-cause notices to 10,000 shops in each of the three regions — south, north and central — of the city. Cumulatively, this accounts for sealing of 300 shops and issuance of 30,000 notices.

Corporation Commissioner G. Prakash warned that shops violating personal distancing norms would be sealed for four months. Residents in a few neighbourhoods complained to the GCC requesting more community intervention to create awareness among traders and customers on promoting safety during the pandemic. R.B. Saravanan, a resident of Kamarajapuram in Nungambakkam, said some customers were spitting on the road, not wearing masks or maintaining physical distancing.

“The civic agency should continue to create awareness in every street every day. Residents who obey rules are at risk because of others who violate norms,” said Mr. Saravanan.

Former GCC councillor S. Mangala Raj said at least 5% of shops in each streets were unable to manage crowding. “Markets and large provision stores and meat shops are crowded in a few areas. We have to regulate the traders but also have to safeguard their livelihood,” he said.

Containment zones

The GCC on Tuesday ordered the closure of all shops in M.G.R. Nagar and K.K. Nagar after more than 50 persons tested positive for COVID-19 in the localities. At least 1,257 houses in the area with a population of over 10,000 have been declared containment zones.

In five zones in Chennai South Region, covering areas such as Adyar, Valasaravakkam, Alandur, Perungudi and Sholinganallur, notices have been issued to 11,929 shops. “We have sealed 77 shops,” an official said.

In Chennai North Region, covering areas such as Royapuram and Tondiarpet, officials sealed 114 shops for violating physical distancing norms. The north regional officials even started collecting fines for spitting. “We have collected a fine of ₹2,500 for spitting. We also ensure that customers and traders are not harassed because of the regulations,” an official said.

The GCC North Regional Deputy Commissioner P. Akash said they were initiating plans to bring down the incidence of COVID-19.

“None of these initiatives can be successful without the cooperation of all stakeholders. Government employees at all levels have been appealing to the people to take basic precautions such as wearing masks and following physical distancing norms. But without enforcement and implementation these shall just remain dead letters,” he said.

So the Corporation has been undertaking regulatory activities such as collecting fines and sealing of shops to ensure that such protective measures are implemented in letter and in spirit, Mr. Akash said.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2020 8:46:49 AM |

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