Guwahati: As the capital city of Guwahati once again slipping into a two weeklong ‘total’ lockdown from Sunday midnight, a mad rush in the city markets was experienced as people started to hoard essentials.
Busy market locations like Ganeshguri, Chandmari, Noonmati, etc, turned busier with hundreds of people thronging to these market places to stock up their essentials. The only thing that was missing in this rush was social distancing.
Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the total lockdown would have no relaxation this time. Even the grocery, vegetable and meat shops were ordered to shut down at least for the initial seven days.
“There will be no exceptions except the pharmacies. Every other shop will be closed in the first week of the lockdown. People are asked to buy their essentials within Sunday evening. Except the essential and emergency services, nothing will be available. The state government appoliges for the decision but we have no choice,” Sarma said.
Within hours of the announcement, grocery shops started to feel the heat and essential items began to vanish from the shelves of the stores.
“People are buying in bulk and in large quantity as they want to store for the two weeks but as the Fancy Bazar has already been hit by coronavirus, stocks of items were already low. In no time, most of the items were sold,” said Krisha Dutta, a grocery shop owner.
Denizens also started to feel a pinch on their wallets, as prices of vegetables also started to soar with every passing minutes.
“Why the government is doing this? If they want to impose lockdown, then they have to arrange our essential items available and at fair price. Prices of everything have gone up and we have no choice,” said Parikshit Jain, a local.
For many, however, the announcement of the lockdown was expected.
Chandra Goswami, a working woman, said, “It was obvious. The way city people have been behaving in the last couple of weeks throwing all the social distancing norms, the government had no choice. Let’s hope it works.”
Over 677 cases of COVID positive cases have been found in the city alone within last week, triggering the fear of an extensive community transmission here. The health minister observed that the city denizens have failed to maintain the COVID hygiene protocols and social distancing norms.
The announcement of a 14 day lockdown in the city took no time to trigger panic amongst the denizens here and people started to throng to market places to get their essentials in bulk.
On Saturday, till filling of this report, Assam’s COVID count stood at 6919 with 2660 active cases and nine deaths.