Shimla residents crowd at stores during curfew relaxation to buy essentials

Shimla, Mar 26 (PTI) Residents rushed to stores in large numbers to buy essentials, paying no heed to social distancing rules in some areas here, on Thursday morning during relaxation of the curfew imposed in view of a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Curfew was imposed in Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday evening and a relaxation from 8 AM to 11 AM on Thursday was announced in Shimla district to allow people to buy staples and groceries.

During the relaxation hours, a heavy rush of buyers was observed in various parts of the district.

In Sabzi Mandi and Old Bus Stand areas, people did not maintain the required distance of at least one metre or 3.5 feet between each other to ensure social distancing to prevent spread of the contagion while buying vegetables, milk and groceries.

'Some people don't understand the importance of social distancing, and because of them we all are at risk. Enforcement must be ensured by the authorities,' said Shimla resident Sandeep Syanta.

However, people were seen maintaining proper distance while standing in queues for buying essential items in New Shimla, Chhota Shimla, Boileauganj, BCS and Khalini areas.  Circles were drawn on the ground with limestone powder outside some shops in these areas to ensure that people maintain the required distance.

Meanwhile, some police personnel provided rice, pulses and raw vegetables to migrant labourers in the slums at Nabha and Phagli areas.  Shimla deputy commissioner Amit Kashyap said the curfew would be relaxed again on Friday and urged the residents to maintain a distance of minimum one metre from each other. However, the timing of relaxation of curfew on Friday has yet not been announced.

In case of emergencies during curfew hours, people may contact helpline number 1077, he said, adding that this number may also be used for any clarification or information about the pandemic.

Domestic LPG cylinders will be supplied daily at people's houses like before, he added.

Kashyap said instructions were also given to open pesticide/insecticide shops for orchardists. PTI DJI RDM RDM