Other States

Roads jammed, small eateries make brisk business — Kolkata limps back to normalcy

Transport however posed problems to many; State reported 114 COVID-19 cases and eight deaths

The owner of the iconic fried fish shop Allen of north Kolkata was a happy man on Monday as the shop not only opened but also managed to sell a few food parcels maintaining social distancing norms.

“Hope sales will pick up slowly,” he said. As the city opened up, thousands came out mainly to attend offices, open shops and attend business. Roads were blocked, like earlier, with private vehicles all over and small eateries, a hall mark of Kolkata, opened too. Buses however were few which created some problem for the commuters.

“Buses are only accommodating passengers if there are seats and seats are few. I have been waiting for an hour for a bus,” said Amit Chatterjee, a small businessman, near the College Street. Many complained that they did not get any form of public transport to return to homes largely as the private bus owners were not operating. The operators complained that they cannot run as they cannot make a profit due to the restrictions on capacity.

But generally people were happy as a seller of Puchka, a popular street food in Bidon Street, said he is doing brisk business as his shop had opened after three months. The State government had announced opening of establishments and places of worship to operate outside areas marked as “affected”.

However, many main temples have not opened like the famous Kalighat Kali temple. While other Kali temples in north Kolkata opened their gates, no one was allowed to offer prayers. Many authorities said they opened the temples to “assess the situation and form a guideline” before making them fully accessible from mid-June. The Belur Math will also be fully operational from June 15.

Md. Yahiya, chairman of the Bengal Imams’ Association, appealed to the imams to “allow only three or four persons like before to enter mosques” instead of full-scale congregations.

Ferries were back on Hooghly after an over two-month hiatus owing to the lockdown, officials said. The passengers were limited to 40% of the capacity of each vessel to ensure social distancing and no one was allowed to board them without masks as per the directions of Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari. Around 70 passengers were allowed in each vessel prior to the novel coronavirus outbreak. On Monday, 114 fresh COVID-19 cases were reported with eight deaths.

[With PTI inputs]

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 5:06:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/roads-jammed-small-eateries-make-brisk-business-kolkata-limps-back-to-normalcy/article31724597.ece

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