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Monday, November 29, 2021

Mumbai: Markets brim with shoppers ahead of Diwali, BMC expects rise in Covid cases

Markets like Crawford Market, Manish Market, Lohar chawl, Bhuleshwar, Dadar and Lalbaug saw large crowds of shoppers and extra police force was deployed as a precautionary measure.

Mumbai |
Updated: October 31, 2021 12:54:16 am
BMC is bracing itself for a slight rise in cases following the crowding for the festive season. (Express photo by Ashish Kale)

Written by: Vallabh Ozarkar & Kabeer Murugkar

Markets in Dadar, Crawford Market and Lalbaug were brimming with shoppers on Saturday, who had stepped out in preparation for Diwali. Traffic on streets and footfall in trains was higher than usual as people headed out for festive shopping.

Markets like Crawford Market, Manish Market, Lohar chawl, Bhuleshwar, Dadar and Lalbaug saw large crowds of shoppers and extra police force was deployed as a precautionary measure.

“Famous markets like Lohar Chawl and Bhuleshwar falls in our jurisdiction and the crowd is increasing. We have deployed extra personnel and taking all efforts to maintain law and order,” said Dipak Nikam, Senior Inspector of LT Marg police station.

Rajen Patel, who had set up a temporary stall of lanterns and diya at Crawford market said, “People have started coming now. Though the business is not like pre-covid, it’s better than last year when people had no money to due to lockdown. The market is packed since Wednesday and since it’s the weekend we expect more customers. Most people are coming to buy clothes and Diwali decoration items.”

“We couldn’t celebrate last year. This year we are very excited and happy to see the rush in the market with several stalls of clothes and fancy items,” said Deepa Mane, who had come to shop at Andheri market.

“After one year, we are very excited to shop, spend time and celebrate with family,” Chandrasen Atak, a shopper at Andheri market, said.

A few shoppers sounded caution amid all the excitement.

“It is good to see markets, malls open. Aside from this people have become very casual and people are being careless. But almost after two years we are celebrating Diwali like the way it should. People can come out and enjoy,” said Ashok Wala, a shopper at Infinity Mall.

Roni Gupta, who was enjoying some time with her family, said, “It’s good that everything is coming to normal but people should still be cautious. Apart from that, really excited to be with family.”

Though the footfall in local trains haven’t increased, as only fully-vaccinated people are allowed to board, traffic jams on many roads were a common sight. Santosh Chakte, an auto driver from Ghatkopar, said that the crowd has increased on-road since Dussehra, as more people are using private transport.

Meanwhile, BMC is bracing itself for a slight rise in cases following the crowding for the festive season. The civic body said that there could be a slight rise in the daily Covid cases post-Diwali. However, that the city is unlikely to witness a sudden surge in infections, it added.

Dr Mangala Gomare, executive health officer, BMC, “I don’t think that there will be a surge in the daily Covid-19 cases in the city post-Diwali. There were concerns that the number of infections may increase with the inflow of people after the 10-day Ganpati festival and even post Navratri. But we haven’t seen any spike post the festivals. Having said that, our strategy of increased testing and increase awareness to get the vaccination will continue.”

The BMC has activated all its 266 free RT-PCR testing centres at dispensaries since September and has appealed to citizens to get tested. It is also planning to conduct another sero survey post-Diwali to check exposure levels among citizens to the Covid-19. The last sero survey, the fifth since last year, was conducted in August. It showed that 86.64 per cent of the 8,674 surveyed had antibodies against Covid-19.

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