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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Ambiguity over ‘complete curfew’ in Ahmedabad city triggers panic buying

“There was already so much ambiguity for a few days... those were settled with government’s assurances on ‘no lockdown’... However, the curfew announcement has added to the confusion and panic," said Megha Dave, a housewife from Thaltej area who standing in a queue to buy essentials.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Updated: November 21, 2020 10:17:04 am
Ahmedabad curfew, Ahmedabad panic buying, Ahmedabad news, Gujarat news, Indian express newsCurfew imposed at Ahmedabad. Police checking vehicles at S G Highway. (Express photo by Nirmal Harindran)

As ambiguity prevailed over “complete curfew” in Ahmedabad city from 9 pm Friday till 6 am Monday, residents indulged in panic buying to hoard essential supplies, while those travelling to and from other districts hurried to cross the borders on Friday.

“There was already so much ambiguity for a few days… those were settled with government’s assurances on ‘no lockdown’… However, the curfew announcement has added to the confusion and panic. I had to stock up grocery and vegetables… With the government itself confused, who knows till when this curfew will be imposed,” said Megha Dave, a housewife from Thaltej area who standing in a queue to buy essentials.

Saad Maniar, 29, a travel agent from Ahmedabad who had done tickets and hotel bookings for a trip to Goa with 30 of his relatives and friends had to make last minute changes to his itinerary. “We were scheduled to leave tomorrow for Vadodara by a private bus to catch our train to Goa from there. With the curfew and no clarity on travel restrictions, we started today around 7.30 pm,” he said, en route Vadodara.

Hoping to avoid the Diwali rush at Goa, the families had planned a three-night stay but were clueless what to do.

“We had invested more than Rs 5 lakh for this trip. We tried contacting the hotel for a refund but since this is only limited to Ahmedabad and we had made bookings 45 days in advance, the hotel denied to accept our request. Left with no other option, we decided to start early as the bus agency was denied permission to ply on Saturday,” Saad said adding that it incurred them additional expenses for a stay at Vadodara now.

Sharing a similar panic among other travellers, Saad said that he had already received more than 100 calls Friday from his clients seeking clarity on their travel plans.

According to the curfew imposed by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), all exams other than the Gujarat Public Service Commission (GPSC) will be conducted as per schedule, while no transport services will be allowed within the city or across cities during the curfew period. However, Kalupur railway station and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport will be exempt from the curfew.

Additional chief secretary forests and environment, Rajeev Kumar Gupta, who is in charge of the Covid situation in AMC, tweeted late Friday, “All essential services like milk, drug stores, municipal services, petrol & gas stations, pharma companies, electrical & water utilities shall operate and personnel connected with their operations shall be allowed to move on possession of valid ID documents (sic).”

The Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) announced that no bus service would be operational to and from Ahmedabad during the curfew period.

“During the curfew period — from 9 pm November 20 till 6 am November 23 — bus services for Ahmedabad will be entirely shut. During this period, buses will bypass Ahmedabad,” the order issued by the GSRTC stated.

From November 23, when the night curfew would be imposed in the city, all buses are will arrive in Ahmedabad before 8 pm and depart after 7 am, it added.

AMC’s city public bus services will also be shut during the curfew period with a few exemptions for railway station and airport.

“Local bus services will not operate from today till Monday 6 am… However, if required special services would be provided for railway station, bus stations and airport,” Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Committee chairman Atul Bhavsar told The Indian Express.

However, 150 buses of the Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Service (AMTS) have been deployed on 17 routes from Kalupur railway station to major city parts, for train passengers arriving in Ahmedabad during the curfew period.

Similarly, 25 Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) buses will deployed to ferry passengers to anf from the Sardar Vallabhbhai International Airport from November 20 to 22 on two routes — from airport to Karnavati Club and Maninagar.

Apart from designated bus routes by AMC from railway station and airports, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said, “Any emergency-related commute is permitted… transportation across the state, along highways and elsewhere, will remain open… no restriction on farmers or others carrying goods… government’s only purpose is to restrict non-essential crowding…”

However, only those passengers with valid tickets and identify proof would be permitted to travel. “Passengers arriving at and leaving from Ahmedabad airport and railway station shall be permitted movement provided they are in possession of valid tickets and ID proof during two days of curfew in Amdavad city (sic),” Rajeev Kumar Gupta tweeted.

Exams postponed

The GPSC has postponed all its exams scheduled between November 22 and 29, while other exams will be held as per schedule.

“GPSC has postponed all exams scheduled on November 22, 24, 26, 28 and 29 for recruitment of medical teachers in Govt medical colleges due to prevailing situation. Candidates will be informed about new dates via SMS & Email. They are advised to stay updated with GPSC website (sic),” GPSC chairman Dinesh Dasa tweeted.

“All applicants for exams like CA, NIC, CSIR, SSC shall be allowed to go and appear if they possess valid admission cards and ID documents, during next two days of curfew in Amdavad city (sic),” tweeted Rajeev Kumar Gupta.

HC to be closed

The Gujarat High Court, which was expected to reopen at full strength for virtual proceedings from November 23, notified on Friday that the court shall remain closed on November 23 and 24 due to curfew in Ahmedabad city. A notice issued by the registrar in charge through an order of the Chief Justice of the Gujarat HC stated that the registry that will remain closed on Saturday, will resume on Monday along with other administrative functions.

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