Mumbai

Social distancing: BMC marks pitches outside grocery outlets, veggie shops

Circled in: Customers queue up safely while awaiting their turn to shop in Mumbai on Thursday.

Circled in: Customers queue up safely while awaiting their turn to shop in Mumbai on Thursday.  

It also spaces out vendors to avoid crowding; move follows panic buying after Prime Minister’s address

With the scramble to buy essentials defeating the idea of social distancing, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has started marking pitches outside grocery stores, and vegetable and fruit vendors across the city. The pitches are one metre apart to ensure consumers have minimum contact with each other in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. At many places, vegetable vendors have been shifted so that people don’t crowd in one place.

Soon after the State and the Centre announced a lockdown, Mumbaikars stepped out in large numbers to stock essentials. As large crowds were seen outside stores or near vendors, there was criticism that this was exactly the kind of thing people were supposed to avoid. On Tuesday, pictures of peope in Pune waiting in queues within marked boxes outside shops went viral on social media. The BMC has now taken a cue from this model.

Social distancing: BMC marks pitches outside grocery outlets, veggie shops

Similar to the hawking pitches, the civic body is marking pitches outside small and large grocery stores, and vegetable, fruit and egg vendors for buyers to stand in and wait for their turn. On Thursday, the BMC’s G North ward drew around 200 pitches at the ever-crowded Dadar market, which saw the largest gatherings after the lockdown was announced. The market starts functioning as early as 4 a.m. and people throng it after 7 a.m. to buy fresh vegetables.

“I don’t mind waiting in a queue as long as I get to buy vegetables. It has been a week now and I have to re-stock. Also, what is the government doing about overshooting prices? There is another week to go for salary day and prices of all vegetables have increased by 20%,” Hema Pawar, a resident of Lalbaug, said.

In many areas such as Mulund, the BMC has spaced out vendors to ensure there is no crowding in one area.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 11:49:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/social-distancing-bmc-marks-pitches-outside-grocery-outlets-veggie-shops/article31177500.ece

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