TC Bureau Panchkula; While the city witnessed hue and cry over the lockdown on Monday, the second day of the lockdown witnessed a slump in activities across the city. The streets were quieter and residents mostly stayed indoors, with people coming out only early in the morning or late evening for purchasing essential goods. “Maybe people needed a day to get their affairs in order, buy milk and rations, keep diapers and cereal handy. They needed a day to prepare,” said a police official. Most of the grocery shops also remained closed even though no official curfew has been announced. They only opened for a few hours early in the morning and later in the evening, when they also received supplies that were to be sold.
“We do not feel the need to keep our stores open at all times as people have been advised to sit at home and they should. We do understand people need to buy goods of daily need and raw materials,” said a departmental store owner in Sector 7. The grocers have also been practising social distancing, by tying ropes infront of the shop, stopping them from entering any further.Vijay, owner of a small grocery shop behind Sector 4 market, said, “We have been wearing gloves and masks. We even request people to stay beyond the ropes and hand us over their bags that we fill up they want to purchase. We are promoting cashless transaction as there is no exchange of currency then. We are also keeping hand sanitisers for ourselves.”
Meanwhile, the check posts set up across the city saw lesser number of people trying to enter or exit the city as Chandigarh imposed a total curfew. Suspension of food delivery services also kept the restaurants as well as Zomato and Swiggy apps shut. However, none of the commuters were punishments. The commuters who were allowed travel were either equipped with curfew passes or had accomplish an essential task. “The imposition of a curfew in Chandigarh as well as Mohali has helped a lot. Earlier, there was a lot of movement between cities comprising Tricity, but now, with two of them being shut, the only passengers that want to enter Panchkula are residents of the other two whose offices are still functional here. We letting them in,” said Constable Ashish, who is posted at the Panchkula entry gate.
The public transportation vehicles, which were functioning on Monday, did not operate on Tuesday. The roads remained vacant. The only services that remained functional included the health department, police officials, media and administrative officials. After receiving orders from the administration on Sunday, lockdown was imposed in Panchkula. The order of a state-wide lockdown was issued by the Haryana government on Monday. Moreover, Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued an order for a nation-wide lockdown for 21 days. Only essential services including medicine, hospitals, groceries continue to remain available during this time. All traffic including public conveyance of buses and autos has been completely banned in the district.
All commercial shops, offices, factories, workshops and warehouses et al, have also been ordered to remain closed. The citizens have been instructed to stay in their homes. Rail services have also been suspended for this time period by the Centre. Only electricity, water and sewerage services, banks, ATMs, media, telecom internet services, postal services will continue to operate. Under the Essential Services Act, vehicles carrying services like food, milk, bread, fruits, vegetables and flour have been issued permission to operate. Petrol pumps, LPG gas, petrol pumps will also remain open.
Under the Section 144 of the CrPC, a ban on the gathering of five or more persons in public places has already been banned. Instructions have been issued to the raw material suppliers to stay in social dispensation and ensure strict compliance of the instructions issued by the Health Department.
All interstate level transport services have also been closed as per the order. A district level control room has been set up in the auditorium of the District Secretariat. Food shops, hotels, dhabas at al will remain open but seating will not be permitted. The general OPD of the Health Department has been discontinued. DCP Panchkula has further issued orders for the arrest of any individual who does not follow the orders issued under the relevant Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code. At least one FIR against an individual supposed to be under home quarantine was filed on Monday.