Ludhiana’s social distancing goes for a toss in mad rush for veggies

On Monday, around 20,000 people descended on to the wholesale market, cops remain mute spectators
Locals huddled at the vegetable market in Jalandhar Bypass area in Ludhiana on Monday.(Gurpreet Singh/HT)
Locals huddled at the vegetable market in Jalandhar Bypass area in Ludhiana on Monday.(Gurpreet Singh/HT)
Updated on Mar 30, 2020 10:33 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Ludhiana | ByMohit Khanna, Ludhiana

Even as a 42-year-old Ludhiana native died after testing positive for the novel coronavirus on Monday, social distancing seems to have gone for a toss in the city. On Monday, around 20,000 people converged on to the wholesale market of New Sabzi Mandi near Jalandhar Bypass to buy vegetables. With the gates closed, residents were seen scaling the walls to enter the market.

A huge rush was seen at the market right from the early hours of morning. Police too seemed to have eased its grip on the crowd after receiving brickbats for preventing the residents from entering the market on Friday.

Ravi, a vegetable vendor, said, “Nearly 20,000 people were present in the mandi. The huge volume of people outnumbered the police. The cops present at the Mandi remained mute spectators to the chaos.”

Sharanjit Singh, another vegetable vendor, blamed arhtiyas’ for the chaos.

“Arhtiyas’, through their workers, began selling vegetables on retailers which led to a massive chaos. Authorities should take strict action against crowding otherwise things will go from bad to worse,” said Sharanjit Singh.

MARKET COMMITTEE PASSES THE BUCK

Market committee chairman Dharshan Lal, meanwhile, said only residents were to be blamed. “There are a lot of people who are using this tense situation to make quick buck. Such people should be identified as taken to task,” he said.

Arhtiya association member Vijay Goyal said that besides nearly 8,000 registered vendors of the municipal corporation, thousands of those who got the passes from sarpanch, area councillors and SHOs’ thronged the Sabzi Mandi. “Thus a huge number of people entered New Sabzi Mandi that led to massive chaos. We are also worried about our health and demand the authorities should take strict action,” said Goyal while denying that Arhtiyas’ were not involved in retail sale of vegetables.

MC CHIEF URGES NGOs to DISTRIBUTE LANGAR EQUALLY

In the meantime, Municipal Corporation Commissioner Kanwalpreet Kaur Brar has urged the NGO to equally distribute the langar across the city. In a communiqué she stated that it has come to the notice that people were distributing langar in particular area whereas food is not being distributed in other area. She said that the social activists should ensure that langar should be distributed.

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