TS honours ‘Janata Curfew’ call, applauds COVID-19 heroes

Lorries parked haphazardly on NH-44 inter State border near Penganga river.

Lorries parked haphazardly on NH-44 inter State border near Penganga river.   | Photo Credit: S. HARPALSINGH

Bustling cities turn ghost towns as vehicles stay off road and shops down shutters

Normal life came to a standstill with people staying indoors in response to the Janata Curfew call given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao as part of a strategy to combat coronavirus on Sunday.

All streets in the town wore a total deserted look reminiscent of a normal curfew, and vehicles, including two wheelers, were hardly seen on the roads. Autorickshaws also stayed off the roads as there were no takers. RTC buses too remained in depots with the management suspending all services. Even small eateries were closed. Unlike everyday’s din with moving vehicles blaring horns and construction activities, an eerie silence prevailed everywhere.

With the government’s forewarning, supermarkets were crowded with customers on Saturday evening. Milk vendors dropped by earlier. Bus and railway stations were completely empty. While a few petrol bunks were open, there were no customers. A few medical shops were open, but all private hospitals remained closed.

People who arrived from Mumbai by Devagiri Express to travel to Jagityal were stranded at the railway station as there was no onward transport service. They had booked tickets before the announcement of Janata Curfew and got down here hoping for bus or any other transport.

Beggars and destitute at railway and bus stations suffered as none gave them food or alms.

The borders with neighbouring Maharashtra were sealed and hoardings were kept along the roads announcing the closure.

Extended curfew

People confined themselves to their homes in various parts of Karimnagar district on Sunday while all shops, business establishments, hotels and kirana shops in the town remained closed. Milk vendors did not operate; neither did the vegetable markets. Small-time tea shops and tiffin centres remained shut and pushcart vendors stayed off the roads.

As the government had announced that TSRTC would also participate in the curfew, buses were confined to their respective depots and bus stations wore a deserted look. Most people had purchased all essential commodities on Saturday itself to avoid problems on curfew day.

Police forces were deployed at various locations to dissuade people from coming on to the roads. Even in residential areas, police teams were seen moving around and instructing people to observe the curfew. Only people going to hospitals or medical shops were allowed on the road.

Commissioner of Police V.B. Kamalasan Reddy went around the town on inspection. Talking to newspersons, he congratulated all sections of the society for participating in the Janata Curfew and making it a grand success.

Stating that general public and traders participated in the curfew voluntarily, he said the curfew would last till 6 a.m. on Monday. “Police forces would continue duty at their designated locations throughout the 24 hours,” Mr. Reddy said.

Tri-cities come to a halt

Life virtually came to a standstill here as no one ventured out following the curfew appeal. Unusually, even petty vendors closed their activities for the day. Except for an occasional bike rider, roads were all empty with only the police manning junctions all across the tri-cities of Warangal, Hanamkonda and Kazipet. There was near-total silence, which was unheard of, and unseen in the recent past.

Moreover, bus stands and railways stations were totally deserted and not a single bus or train moved. Vendors at these stations also closed their business of selling water bottles and newspapers. Though the State government had assured small vendors that they could carry on as usual, they too observed the Janata Curfew.

Bandh calls given by organisations including political parties in the past had never witnessed such public participation and consensus.

Goods carriers stopped

The curfew call received an overwhelming response across undivided Nalgonda on Sunday, as all the roads, including the State and one of the busiest national highways, the National Highway 65 (Hyderabad-Vijayawada), bore an empty look.

Superintendent of Police A.V. Ranganath in Nalgonda and his Suryapet counterpart R. Bhaskaran reviewed the situation on an hourly basis. Police force was deployed at various important junctions.

While tens of commercial and goods carriers were stopped from plying on the State Highways – Narketpally-Addanki and Nagarjunsagar-Hyderabad, nearly 400 more were kept in holding points at Ramapuran junction near Kodad on NH-65 in Suryapet.

All toll plazas — Panthangi, Kethepally, Chillakallu and Miryalaguda — were closed. Police said the highway would remain closed, heavily guarded at the entry/exit points on the border with Andhra Pradesh, till further instructions.

Leaders in the district Legislative Council chairman Gutha Sukender Reddy, Energy Minister G. Jagadish Reddy and other MLAs stayed at home. They posted pictures on media WhatsApp groups, encouraging people to wash hands regularly, enjoy family time and to strictly follow government instructions on COVID-19.

By 5 p.m., residents in apartments and buildings across the State rang bells, clapped, and banged kitchen utensils for five minutes, expressing gratitude to the services of medical and all emergency agencies in the fight against the disease.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 6:17:23 PM |

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