A day after the district administration gave relaxations from the lockdown, shops selling non-essential items and offices opened in Amreli on Tuesday, while nine cases of violating social distancing norms were reported from the city and a traders’ body president was booked.
“There are around 4,000 shops in Amreli town. Out of them, around 2,000, which have been assigned odd numbers, opened today. As market was opening for the first time after the lockdown began 42 days ago, more people were seen on town roads,” Sanjay Vanzara, president of Vepari Mahamandal, Amreli, an association of traders of Amreli town said.
The district administration has mandated that shops be given odd and even numbers and remain open on alternate days. The shops which have been assigned even numbers will open on Wednesday.
Amreli has not recorded any confirmed case of COVID-19 so far and therefore the Centre has categorised the district as a green zone.
“It was great to open my show-room after 42 days. It was nice to see so many people after so many days. Business was normal with people mostly purchasing power adapters, data cables, 2G phones etc,” Bhagirath Trivedi, owner of Balaji Mobile, a multi-brand mobile show-room on Station Road of Amreli said.
Amreli District Collector Ayush Oak said no major complaints from any part of the district was reported due to easing of lockdown.
However, traders expressed their displeasure after Chatur Patel, president of Amreli District Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI) and Kirana Association, was booked after customers at his provision store in Rajkamal Chowk did not maintain social distancing.
“This could have been avoided, given the fact that our chamber has been constantly helping the district administration in efforts to maintain supply of essential items,” said Girish Bhatt, vice-president of Kirana Association, a body of around 150 provision store owners of Amreli.
Patel said the alleged incident occurred as more people stepped out of their homes with the lockdown easing. “Due to rush of customers, police are claiming that the mandatory six feet distance between two individuals was not maintained. Even if it was true, it could have been for a moment,” Patel told The Indian Express.
Police said the action was taken based on an alert sent by a resident. “Someone sent us a photograph showing violation of social distancing in front of Patel’s shop. Therefore, we booked him. But he was granted bail later on,” V N Kher, Inspector of Amreli town, said adding that nine such cases were reported from the city on Tuesday.