Chennai, Jun 7 (PTI) Easing of lockdown restrictions came into force in Tamil Nadu on Monday with reopening of shops, including standalone outlets dealing in provision and vegetables after a two week gap, while road traffic saw a sharp increase.
Government offices, including Sub-Registrar's offices, resumed work with 30 per cent employees, local markets teemed with people to buy essential commodities, while workers like electricians too got back to work here.
Though public and private buses continued to be off the roads, railways began operating additional suburban 'workmen special trains' here in view of the easing of curbs.
Autorickshaws and cab services made a comeback, albeit with relatively poor patronage.
Places of worship, shopping complexes, salons, liquor outlets, juice shops, malls and cinemas continued to be shut and tourist spots were also out of bounds for the public.
Matchwork units resumed work in regions like Sivakasi and several export oriented firms in Coimbatore, Tirupur and Karur also started operations with 10 per cent workforce.
With the government allowing workers, including plumbers, to travel to work with e-pass, the state portal for e-registration faced glitches with a large number of people simultaneously trying to get passes.
In view of the easing of curbs, road traffic saw a sharp increase everywhere and barricades put up by police to help check violations were removed in many intersections.
In some places, arguments ensued between police personnel and motorists over 'e-pass' and a video clip of an autorickshaw driver here angrily shouting at a woman cop went viral after she detained his vehicle for alleged violations.
Meanwhile, reports of smuggling of alcoholic beverages from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka continued to pour in.
A Kallakurichi district police officer said a consignment of neatly packed two lakh worth of liquor hidden under vegetable bags was seized from a cargo truck and three men were arrested.
On Saturday, the government announced relaxations from June 7. It was more for 27 districts, including Chennai and less for 11 districts, including Coimbatore, where the rate of infection was comparatively high.
The additional relaxations for districts like Chennai include nod for shops selling hardware items, electrical goods, vehicle spares, books and stationery and vehicle service stations to function.
Maintenance work in offices and residences was allowed and permission was also granted to those like electricians to work.
From April, following a steep rise in virus cases, restrictions were imposed one after the other, which includes closure of places of worship.
A two-week lockdown was clamped on May 10 in Tamil Nadu with some relaxations. It was extended by one more week (May 24-31) and relaxations seen previously were withdrawn. Also, the curbs were extended till June 14 albeit with relaxations.
The additional restrictions from May 24 included closure of vegetable shops and provision stores, which were earlier allowed to work between 6 AM and 10 AM.
To help ensure supply of vegetables and fruits, the government implemented sale through vehicles. PTI VGN APR ADMINISTRATOR APR ADMINISTRATOR