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PIL against decision to keep shops open in Chandigarh

Residents buy vegetables from a vendor who sell essentials through a city transport bus in Chandigarh.

Residents buy vegetables from a vendor who sell essentials through a city transport bus in Chandigarh.   | Photo Credit: Akhilesh Kumar

It would defeat the purpose of lockdown and quarantine, say doctors

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Saturday issued a notice of motion to the Chandigarh administration on a petition challenging its decision to keep open all shops with essential commodities daily.

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Hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed against the decision, the bench of Justices Rajiv Sharma and R.K. Jain issued the notice to the Chandigarh administration and other respondents. The petitioner has sought quashing of the decision.

The next hearing has been fixed on Sunday (March 29).

The UT administration had on March 27 decided that all shops with essential commodities such as foodgrains, groceries, fruits, vegetables, milk, meat and fish would remain open from 10 am to 6.00 pm daily, till further orders.

Amid the lockdown to curb the coronavirus (COVID-19), the decision has come under severe criticism from the doctor fraternity as well.

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The Faculty Association of Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) has sought an immediate reversal of the order saying it would defeat the purpose of the lockdown.

Dr. J.S. Thakur, president of the Faculty Association of PGIMER, Chandigarh,said the purpose of social distancing and quarantine would stand defeated.

“We strongly oppose this move. This will defeat the purpose of social distancing and quarantine. It will be impossible to maintain social distancing when the shops are open. The medical fraternity is struggling to ensure steps to contain the spread of the virus, arrange personal protective equipment for the healthcare staff, special wards and ICUs for the impending epidemic. The only way to contain this virus is by prevention,” he said.

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Dr. Thakur said: “In no way we will be able to handle this disease if it reaches the proportion of countries like Italy, China, etc. The Prime Minister has announced a package worth crores of rupees to fight this epidemic. All that money will also be of no use, if the epidemic reaches Stage 3 or 4. We don't know under whose able advice this step [opening of shops] has been taken.”

In Chandigarh, the COVID-19 confirmed cases stand at eight as of March 28.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 7:49:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/pil-against-decision-to-keep-shops-open-in-chandigarh/article31193452.ece

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