Roads emptied, shops shuttered as people stay home for 'Janata curfew' in HP

Shimla, Mar 22 (PTI) All roads, streets and public places wore a deserted look in Himachal Pradesh as people observed 'Janata curfew' on Sunday to check the spread of coronavirus.

The 14-hour-long 'Janata curfew' proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is part of a self-imposed exercise to maintain social distancing of at least one metre to help stop the spread of the virus. It began at 7 am and will end at 9 pm.

People chose to stay indoors in the hill state as streets, roads and public places remained empty.

The historic Ridge Maidan, Mall Road, Jakhu, Lakkar Bazar, Chhota Shimla, Khalini in Shimla city wore a deserted look as the roads were empty.

No trains and buses are running in the state. While all the trains on the Shimla-Kalka and Pathankot-Joginder Nagar sections were cancelled a few days ago, the state government decided not to run any bus to make 'Janata curfew' a success.

Barring few persons who ventured out to purchase essentials like medicines, most people in the state preferred to stay inside their homes.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur in an all-party meeting on Saturday here had sought support from leaders of all the political parties to make the self-imposed curfew a success.

Assembly of four or more persons was already banned by imposing Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in Kangra, Solan, Hamirpur and Chamba districts of a total of 12 districts in the state.

Shopkeepers in Shimla city decided to close their shops for three days till Tuesday. Shimla Vyapar Mandal president Inderjeet Singh said all the shops except those selling essential commodities of vegetables, karyana and medicines will remain closed till March 24.

In Solan, Deputy Commissioner K C Chaman ordered closure of all business establishments except those selling essential commodities till March 29.

In Hamirpur, a complete 'Janata curfew' is being observed. Even vegetable sellers and those selling milk are observing it by not opening their shops. Vehicular traffic has come to a near standstill as buses and taxis are off the road and people are staying in their houses.

The first two cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in the state were confirmed in Kangra district on Friday. A 32-year-old man from Harchakkian tehsil and a 64-year-old woman from Dohabe village in Shahpur subdivision with a recent travel history to Singapore and Dubai, respectively, have tested positive for coronavirus in the district. PTI DJI HDA