The public appeared to be flouting relaxations in curfew granted by the district administration, crowding at chemists and banks.
“With the several relaxations in curfew by the district administration which included the opening of medical retail shops from 10 am to 5 pm, opening of banks and ATMs from 10 am to 5 pm and 24 hours, respectively, people are moving outside freely,” said a policeman on duty on Old GT Road.
At the sabji mandi area, where vendors go to collect vegetables to supply to various parts of the city, social distancing seemed long forgotten.
“In our area, there is a massive rush at the ‘rehris’. What kind of social distancing is this when people are going to the vendors in hordes?” asked Kamlesh Kumari, a resident of New Lakshmipura Mohalla near Devi Talab Temple. She asked why the Jalandhar deputy commissioner (DC) permitted opening of chemists and banks for an entire day. “People with fake medical slips are moving around in the city on the pretext of getting medicine,” she said.
“Due to the failure of home delivery management, all such shops are allowed to open,” said another resident of Jalandhar.
Even in the interiors of the city, people were seen visiting each other and sitting in groups.
On Thursday even, the DC announced that starting Friday, the timings for banks would be from 8 am to 1 pm and wholesale medical shops will be opened from 8 am to 12 pm while chemists shops will be open from 12 pm to 4 pm.
In villages, a different picture
Meanwhile, a visit to various villages of the district revealed an opposite picture. Residents were seen observing social distancing. They had even put up barriers at entrances of their villages, all of which were manned. The lanes and bylanes were deserted. “We have made our own arrangements to supply essentials rather than depending on the district administration,” said Baldev Singh of Sikanderpur village.
In other three districts of the Doaba region, banks and chemist shops are open only for a limited period of 2-3 hours and that too in the early morning.
Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner Varinder Kumar Sharma though a press release said Jalandhar has been declared a hotspot by the government and that it must be the public’s first and last duty just to stay inside the homes.
He added that while movement was allowed with authorised passes, it must be practiced with social distancing. “More than curfew, self-restriction by people could do wonders in effectively combating coronavirus,” he said.
Jalandhar rural and police commissionerate have been nabbing curfew violators daily.
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