The panic triggered by the 21-day lockdown has turned the fight for survival into a choice between safeguarding against the pandemic and fending for one’s nutrition. The crowds flocking to the markets stand witness to the fact that people have neither understood nor bought into the efficacy of social distancing in the days of COVID-19.
Saturday morning all the markets in central Pune – be it Mandai,
“Corona or no
At Nehru Chowk, another buyer argued, “We are a joint family of eight. I am the only woman who can run errands every morning. While I appreciate the concerns about the present situation, I have to go out and ensure my family get their regular meals. I try my best to get done with my purchases as quickly as possible and go home.”
The market places are teeming with people between 6.30 am and 11 am, after which the cops’ presence get stronger. From the concerns voiced by different people it was evident that panic buying was still rampant as people feared that the lockdown period will get extended and the availability of commodities will whittle down. They are trying to load up while things are still accessible.
Remarkably, the alarm is not onesided, as a vegetable vendor explains, “We’ve made the markings and tell our customers to adhere to them. But the vigilance is not sustainable during the rush hours. We also want to get as much business as possible, uncertain what tomorrow holds.”
The indiscipline is not confined to buying perishable stuff. Long queues were also seen snaking outside shops vending gas cylinders.
Clearly disturbed by this issue, district collector Naval Kishore Ram observed, “This is a very serious complaint at a time when we are suggesting that even family members keep a distance from each other. We’ve started taking action against people in housing societies who gather in groups. We will ask the cops to make several rounds to ensure the social distancing.”
The cops are feeling the heat of this new kind of policing that has come on them. At