UT adviser Manoj Parida believes that the purpose of avoiding mass gathering in the wake of coronavirus threat would be defeated if people throng the markets for panic purchase. In an interview to Chandigarh Newsline, he spoke on many issues related to COVID-19. Edited experts:
What precautions are being taken by the administration for people who are thronging the markets in large numbers even when mass gathering is not advisable and the government of India has suggested social distancing?
To avoid mass gathering, the administration is ensuring scattering of sale points within markets/mandies so that safe distance is maintained. People should understand that the basic purpose of avoiding mass gathering will be defeated if they throng the markets. If necessary, we will allow vendors on carts or vehicles to go to sectors and sell. We may even allow sale of essential items in community halls and allow only restricted lot of residents at a time to avoid mass gathering.
There has been a panic ahead of Janata Curfew on Sunday. What do you advise people to do?
To avoid panic purchases, the administration is assuring that all mandies will be kept open throughout. I am again reiterating the fact that there is no need for any panic purchase because that will in turn lead to mass gathering. Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) himself has said supply lines will be kept open. So, I appeal let’s not throng public places because the basic purpose of avoiding mass gathering is defeated.
What all measures are taken for restaurants and other places where people are crowding during off days?
No orders of closing down any eateries have been issued as of now. But I appeal to citizens to avoid public dining or crowd eateries if avoidable.
Any specific measures the administration is taking to enforce curfew on Sunday?
On Sunday, curfew is voluntary so I am sure Chandigarh residents, who are educated and responsible, will act accordingly. Otherwise, CTU bus services, both long route and local, have been suspended on Sunday. We are also convening a meeting with resident welfare associations, hotel associations and various other stakeholders.
Administration ordered sanitization of CTU buses but no orders for sanitization of autos in which most people travel.
People should carry sanitizers and use when travelling by autos or taxis. We will direct Ola and Uber to sanitize their cabs. Prevention is better than cure. I appeal to people to sanitise their hands whenever they board any auto or cab.
What have been shopkeepers advised to do as people are thronging the markets?
All shopkeepers have been advised to keep customers at a three-foot distance and transact. Also, Municipal Corporation is already carrying out sanitization of markets regularly.
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