Coronavirus curfew in Chandigarh: Social distancing given a go-by as vendors rush to get passes
There was apparently no system in place to manage the crowd despite clear instructions of social distancingUpdated: Mar 27, 2020 01:37 IST
Though social distancing is crucial in the fight against coronavirus, that seems to be the last thing on the Chandigarh municipal corporation’s mind.
On Thursday, a large number of vendors were seen assembled at MC’s office in Sector 17 for curfew passes, having long forgotten the Prime Minister’s appeal to maintain social distancing.
Most of them sat outside the building in close contact for over half a day, waiting for passes to sell essentials. A similar crowd was seen outside the DC office in Sector 17.
While vendors rued the long delays in approvals with many even being sent home without passes, there was apparently no system in place to manage the crowd despite clear instructions of social distancing.
City Forum of Residents Welfare Organisations (CFORWO) convener Vinod Vashisht said, “Why is MC allowing them to gather at one place? There is lack of planning, which exposes MC’s inefficacy. Home delivery system is not working at all. Bigger districts are doing far better than a tiny Chandigarh.”
MC executive engineer Ajay Garg, nodal officer for vegetable and fruits distribution, said he was not aware of the crowd outside the office. “They probably came for grocery passes but I am not handling that,” he said.
Uma Shanker Gupta, the one in-charge of granting passes for groceries, was unavailable for comments.
Kanta, 50, who sells goods at Ram Darbar, said the police stopped her on Sunday and asked her to get a pass. “I initially went to the DC office from where I was sent to the MC office. I came here as early as 7am, but no one is helping me,” she said.
Another woman standing nearby said they had been standing in the crowd for hours, putting their lives at risk, but the officials sitting in the MC office were least concerned.
“I am not allowed to open my shop in Mauli Jgran for the last two days. People in the area are banking on me, but police are not allowing me to open the shop without a pass. Where should I go?” she asked.
Meanwhile, there were also reports that the MC’s internal staff was busy giving passes to those known to them.
MC enforcement sub-inspectors were even seen filling the forms of people known to them while ignoring the claims of other sitting for hours. Ram Chand from Indira Colony said it was unfair. “I live hand to mouth. Ever since the curfew has been imposed, I have not earned much. How will I sustain my family?” he asked.