Chaos reigns on Day 1 of weekend lockdown in Chandigarh

The Chandigarh Beopar Mandal organised a protest in Sector-23 market regarding the administration’s last minute decision to impose a weekend lockdown in the city.
Shops with shutters down in Sector 17 on Day 1 of weekend lockdown in Chandigarh on Saturday.(Ravi Kumar/HT)
Shops with shutters down in Sector 17 on Day 1 of weekend lockdown in Chandigarh on Saturday.(Ravi Kumar/HT)
Published on Aug 23, 2020 12:35 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | ByRajanbir Singh, Chandigarh

Even after UT adviser Manoj Parida took to Twitter on Saturday morning to clarify that restaurants and shops providing essential services will remain open on Day 1 of weekend lockdown, police largely remained unaware and eateries and grocery shops were asked to shut down at several places.

Some eating joints in Sector 9 were allegedly closed down by the police. Rahul Tyagi, proprietor of Dumpling Hood, said, “We opened at 12 noon, the same time as Softy Corner and La Pinoz. But some UT officials asked us to shut down. Till 1:30pm, the shops remained shut. Then police officials from the beat box called us and said we could open the shop.” La Pinoz remained shut even in the evening and the owner remained unavailable for comment.

There were incidents of police getting into spats with some shopkeepers in Sector 8, but the situation didn’t escalate. Local area councillor Maheshinder Singh Sidhu said, “After I received complaints from shopkeepers in sectors 8 and 9, I asked the cops to allow eateries to open. Confusion was largely because this wasn’t clearly written in the orders.”

COPS, TRADERS GET INTO SPATS

In Sector 32, too, the situation was the same. The owner of a kiryana store here, on the condition of anonymity, said a team of cops had come to his shop and asked him to close down despite his shop coming under essential services.

President of the Sector-32 market welfare association Rajinder Mehendiratta said that all disputes between cops and eatery owners and shopkeepers were swiftly resolved, and shops were allowed to remain open.

Members of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal along with shopkeepers protesting against the lockdown in Sector 23 in Chandigarh on Saturday. (Ravi Kumar/HT)
Members of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal along with shopkeepers protesting against the lockdown in Sector 23 in Chandigarh on Saturday. (Ravi Kumar/HT)

Residents, however, alleged that there were no police checking the markets of city villages. Kusum Ghai, a social activist of Burail, Sector 45, said a sabzi mandi was organised here on Saturday and 60-70 vendors were present without any regard for social distancing or mask-wearing.

To pacify the situation, Parida also tweeted how they had no other option but to impose weekend restrictions. “Chandigarh had to close shops on weekends to prevent shopper rush. We have no plans to disrupt normal functioning of private offices, industries, hotels and banks, where social distancing can be assured,” he said.

BEOPAR MANDAL PROTESTS WITH FRUITS, VEGETABLES

The Chandigarh Beopar Mandal organised a protest in Sector-23 market regarding the administration’s last minute decision to impose a weekend lockdown in the city. Mandal president Anil Vohra said, “The administration has adopted a pick-and-choose policy for shutting down shops which is unfair. Are shopkeepers working in essential services, restaurants or industry workers immune from the virus?”

While protesting, the Mandal members held fruits and vegetables, saying they’ll be forced to sell these to survive in the current economic climate.

ELANTE MALL PARTLY OPEN

While there was confusion regarding opening of malls, Elante Mall officials confirmed that restaurants in the courtyard of the mall had permission to remain open. “Eateries inside the mall were open for takeaway and home delivery through apps. Apollo pharmacy and Big Bazaar in the mall will also remain open even during the weekend,” officials said.

SECTOR 17 DESERTED OVER WEEKEND

Sector 17 also bore a deserted look on Saturday with most shops falling under the non-essential category. President of Business Promotion Council, Sector 17, Neeraj Bajaj wrote to the UT adviser and said, “The weekend lockdown has proved to be a jolt for the business community. Two-day lockdown in a week means at least 40% loss.” He added that shopkeepers have to pay rent, bills and salaries of their employees and have asked the adviser to reconsider his decision.

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