Covid-19: Mumbai shows maximum restraint
Fewer trains, buses help; citizens from all walks of life clap for essential service providers at 5pmUpdated: Mar 23, 2020 00:10 IST
The city stayed indoors in full support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for a self-imposed 14-hour ‘Janta Curfew’ on Sunday to curb the spread of the Sars-CoV-2, coming in their balconies only at 5pm to beat thalis, utensils, blow the conch to thank the healthcare staff and essential service providers.
Among those expressing gratitude were chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and actor Amitabh Bachchan along with his family members.
The primary reason for successful implementation of the curfew was transport services being curtailed. The western railway and central railway operated a limited number of services, allowing only essential service providers to board. The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking operated around 3,000 buses in the city, but saw fewer passengers. The western and eastern express highways wore an unusual deserted look.
At the railway stations, the Maharashtra Security Force (MSF), Mumbai Police and Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel were posted outside the entry and exit gates of suburban railway stations. The personnel were inspecting identity cards of the passengers at the entrance.
Autorickshaws and black-and-yellow taxis, too, stayed off the roads. Some even complained of overcharging. “I was unaware that others are not allowed on local trains. I have just arrived from Madhya Pradesh and I am unable to hail an autorickshaw. I want to go to Thane and do not know how I will reach,” said Shankar Prasad Sharma, who works as a security guard at a housing society in Thane.
Mobile app-based cabs were operational, but in limited numbers, and with delay in arrivals. Mobile app-based cab Uber suspended its Uber Pool service on Sunday owing to the public curfew.
Mukesh Mehta, 65, Grant Road resident, said, “I was born and brought in in Mumbai. I have experienced two wars, Emergency, Mumbai deluge, 2008-terror attacks, but have never seen such a scene. People have supported the PM’s call, and now all should continue to remain disciplined to fight the war against coronavirus.”
In some instances, people were unable to find a medical store and dairy open.