With the administration trying hard for effectively implementing lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, the general public seems to be unconcerned about the need for social distancing, which is crucial at this hour, in Hubballi.
Vegetable and grocery markets, which have been allowed to do business by the district administration till 10 a.m. in the day, witnessed the negligence of the people of the city in adhering to social distancing norms.
Despite an appeal by the administration, and also appeals by police personnel on duty, visitors to the market hardly adhered to the three-feet social distancing norm. At the Janata Bazaar in Hubballi, only a few grocery shops had the markings.
And, at the vegetable market there were no markings at all. People congregated, parked vehicles and bargained with the vegetable vendors just like they used to do earlier standing or sitting very close to other buyers. Such was the crowd that the police personnel on duty could do nothing.
The only thing they could do was prevent people who had come to the market without face masks from entering the market area. Interestingly, when a man tried to enter the market without wearing a mask those who were standing close to each other and buying vegetables, rushed to support the police personnel and sent the man back. Ironically, they even had a word of advice for the man not wearing the mask and told him not to come out without wearing it.
As the police personnel kept vigil, just like at any weekly bazaar, people jostled each other, made purchases and hurriedly left. As the deadline ended at 10 a.m., the police personnel had to wield lathis to send away the public while asking the vendors to pack up.
Meanwhile, some organisations and individuals ventured out in the afternoon with food packets and water sachets for distribution among the needy. Members of the Jain Samaj, Hubballi, led by Mahenda Singhi, Goutam Bhurat, Chaganraj Jain, Dilip Bhurat, Srinivas Aralikatti and Sudhir Vora, were seen distributing chapatti, pickle and pulav to attenders of patients on KIMS Hospital premises. Members of Gondhali Samaj of Hubballi were seen in various localities in an autorickshaw giving away water sachets and serving pulav in paper plates to the destitute, security guards on duty and others.
Amid complaints of social distancing norms not being followed, the administration has taken steps to set up a temporary grocery and vegetable market on the Nehru Grounds in Hubballi. The marking for facilitating social distancing was done on Thursday and the temporary market will be operational from Friday till April 14.