C'garh: People observe Janata curfew; express gratitude to

essential service providers (Eds: Adds details) Raipur, Mar 22 (PTI) Several people came out on their doorsteps and rooftops of houses in Raipur and other major cities of Chhattisgarh on Sunday evening and clapped, clanged utensils and blew conch shells to express solidarity with healthcare providers during the fight against coronavirus.

Residents of Chhattisgarh by and large supported the 'Janata curfew' and roads and streets remained empty in all major towns of the state on Sunday as people stayed indoors.

While appealing people to observe Janata Curfew, the prime minister had asked people to clap for five minutes for those who are providing essential services, including healthcare.

'The sounds of bells, banging thalis and conches echoed throughout the locality, sending a message that entire people stand by our doctors, health staff, sanitisation workers and all others who are supporting us at the time of emergency,' Tanuj Bhawar, a Purani Basti area-based private employee, said.

'We were eagerly watching towards clock as it was close to 5 pm. We went out on the terrace and blew conch shells,' he added.

The same practices were witnessed in other parts of the city, where some people also seen bursting crackers outside houses.

BJP legislative party leader Dharamlal Kaushik, Raipur BJP MP Sunil Soni and their senior party leaders were also seen doing the same outside their residences.

BJP's National Vice President and former Chief Minister Raman Singh said that the success of Janata curfew has underlined that every countryman is full of determination and courage to fight this global pandemic.

All commercial establishments, except some medical stores, remained shut in the capital, and other cities including Durg, Bilaspur, Korba and Raigarh.

Bus services, including the state-run and private ones, remained inoperational.

Other public transport, like autorickshaws, remained off roads.

In Raipur, places of worship, including the famous Mahamaya temple, were closed.

Police personnel deployed all over the town were seen wearing masks or covering their mouth and nose with handkerchiefs.

The state government earlier invoked section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in all urban areas, including the Raipur Municipal Corporation, to discourage assembly of people in a bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

So far, there has been one confirmed case of coronavirus in the state.

Schools, colleges, universities, anganwadis (state-run women and child care centres), public libraries, swimming pools, cinema halls, multiplexes, water parks, malls, coaching centres, clubs, beauty parlours, spas and gyms, have been shut down across the state.

The state government on Saturday ordered to keep all its offices, except those providing essential and emergency services, shut till March 31.

Liquor shops, bars and restaurants will be closed from March 23 to 25 across the state.

Operations of inter-state buses, both to and from the state, and city buses in urban areas have been stopped. PTI TKP GK BNM NP NP