West Bengal Lockdown Update: Streets empty, shops closed as 15-day Covid lockdown comes into force

by Joseph K. Clark

Streets were largely empty in the metropolis and elsewhere in West Bengal on Sunday as the 15-day COVID-19-induced lockdown occurred in the state, with just a few vehicles seen ferrying essential items during the day. Buses and other passenger vehicles stayed off the roads, and shops selling non-essential items had shut down by the curbs imposed by the government as part of the lockdown.

Police officers deployed in the city’s nooks and corners intercepted some vehicles that plied on the roads to check their papers before allowing them to proceed. A handful of people were seen waiting for their turn outside grocery shops, while some queued up next to vegetable and fish stalls at local marketplaces early in the day. The state administration has allowed the sale of essential items for three hours amid the shutdown – 7 am to 10 am. A senior police officer here said necessary measures were being taken to generate awareness of the lockdown norms, and action would be taken against those flouting the rules.

Covid

On the industrial front, jute mills had a 30 percent workforce, and tea gardens operated with a 50 percent workforce in each shift. Passengers returning in long-distance trains were stranded at Sealdah and Howrah stations, with a few vehicles plying and some operators demanding exorbitant fares. “App cabs were demanding three times the normal fare, while yellow taxi operators wanted Rs 2,000 for traveling around 16 km from Sealdah to Sonarpur,” Santosh Naskar, a passenger who reached the city this morning, said.

In Asansol, a police officer was seen requesting a newly-wed couple not to organize a lavish feast inviting many people during the pandemic. “Please don’t organize a lavish feast on return home during the the COVID crisis. Please avoid inviting a large number of people. Life is more important, and you can always organize it later,” the cop said. However, similar scenes were witnessed at Howrah station. n several bazaars in the city and its outskirts — such as Hatibagan, Gariahat, and Sodpur — customers did not maintain physical distance, and many vendors were spotted without masks.

Sweetmeat shops, conforming to the government orders, lifted shutters after 10 am, but not many customers were seen visiting the outlets. Some hawkers who had their shops open beyond 10 am were forced to close down by the police. Sukumar Saha, a fish vendor in the Kakdwip area of South 24 Parganas, said, “The government could have imposed a total shutdown on marketplaces. This three-hour window is more of a hassle. We were told to shut down when the business was at its peak.”

West Bengal had on Sunday registered 147 COVID-19 fatalities and 19,117 new cases. With Metro services in the city suspended, several frontline workers complained that they had difficulty reaching their place of work. “My colleague and I got late to work, as he had to take a detour and pick me up from home,” a junior doctor at a private hospital off EM Bypass said. Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, and US Markets and the latest NAV and portfolio of Mutual Funds; check out the newest IPO News Best Performing IPOs; calculate your tax by using an Income Tax Calculator; know the market’s Top Gainers; Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news.

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