A state of confusion prevailed in Mohali when crowds thronged the markets hoping to buy daily needs and essential items during relaxation of curfew, only to find that the curfew had been reimposed and shops were being closed.
Deputy Commissioner of Mohali Girish Dyalan had announced earlier in the day, through an order, that the curfew will be relaxed from 4 pm to 6 pm to enable people to buy essential items. The order had also said that only one person per family should step out of the house for getting the items and that vehicles should not be used nor should there be any crowding at the shops.
However, a short while before the relaxation was to come into effect the order was rescinded and instead it was announced that home delivery of essentials will take place at the doorstep of the residents. Many people were unaware of this development and started reaching the markets of their respective areas.
While most grocery shops remained shut, a few shops did manage to open their shutters and were quickly swamped by customers. Eggs, milk, vegetables, fruits, bread were some of the most demanded items.
No sooner had some fruit sellers set up their stalls and shops opened that the Mohali police descended on the markets asking people to leave the market and return to their homes because curfew had been reimposed.
The Verka booths in the town also remained shut even as people were seen waiting outside them in the hope that they will open and a supply of milk would be available. A day earlier, Punjab Cooperatives Minister, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa had promised in a statement that a steady supply of milk and other items would be available despite curfew.
At a shop in Phase 3B2 several people and a shopkeeper were seen arguing with the policemen that the curfew had been relaxed only to be told about the order having been cancelled. However, the police allowed those who were already queued up for payment to do so and exit the shops with the goods.
Similar scenes were witnessed in Phase 7 where people with scant regard to social distancing crowded at shops in order to make their purchases. There were many who were not even wearing masks as a precaution and were told by the policemen to do so for their own protection. Many shopkeepers too were not wearing masks.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Raghbir Singh, a resident of Phase 3B2 said that while the move to deliver essential items to residents’ door steps was good it was not clear how the state government would achieve it.
“Look at the level of confusion prevailing amongst the district administration and the state government. After announcing a relaxation in curfew they reimposed the curfew just a short while earlier. This means they themselves are not clear what they want to do,” he said.
Rajbir Gill, a resident of Phase-10 said that she did not think that the government will be able to get its act together soon. “We can pass another day without vegetables, eggs or milk but beyond that we would need supplies. Will the district administration be able to find the workers and carts to deliver the items by tomorrow morning? I have my doubts,” she said.
However, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh took to social media during the evening and assured the residents of the state that a mechanism to deliver essential items at door steps through each sector was being worked out by the respective district commissioners.
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