Nashik | Dr. Vaishali Balajiwale
With more stricter lockdown for 11 days beginning today, people thronged vegetable and fruit markets, grocery and meat shops, supermarkets, and provisional stores in large numbers flouting social distancing norms, a day earlier, yesterday. The lanes and bye lanes of the city and suburbs overflowed with traffic both human and vehicles, as never before !
With the announcement of a stricter 11 days lockdown which had confusions about vegetable markets being open and grocery to be delivered at home, the people psyche went in for stocking essentials for the lockdown period. And going from the crowds and their big bags it appeared that they were unsure of the situation. The concern and panic overruled the thought of Covid keeping social distancing and even masking at bay....
Yesterday’s market scenario was nothing less than a festive shopping rush. The buying was so heavy that every vegetable, fruit vendor and every grocery store fell short to cater to the demanding crowds. While some shops succeeded in maintaining queue system, this was a rare sight and vegetable vendors had all of a group of buyers converging on the piles of vegetables laid on the road for display.
The crowds in such large numbers out in the streets in a specific period of time and in a semi lockdown situation, did raise some questions in one’s mind. Does the fear of Corona no longer exist? Has the city recovered to behave in such a manner? Did the authority not foresee the scene a day before implementation of strict lockdown? Who will be responsible for the increasing chances of epidemic cases rising from such close proximity of crowds? Did anyone even think of the over burdened and burnt out medical staff, doctors, police, administration and corporation workers.
Nashik, New Nashik, Nashik road, Deolali, or Bhagur, all the residents conveniently overlooked the social distancing rule and didn’t realise such actions will only make the situation worse. Do we have such a rigid thought pattern that we don’t follow any kind of guidelines issued by the government?
The mob definitely has its own psychology and for our masses it is pretty predictable. More so with the kind of experience we have in the second wave of Covid which has been severe in all terms. Yes, the infection, its complications, treatment modalities, pressure on the forntliners, all have been severe. However, the people response to it has been severe in the opposite direction.
We have seen people running for medicines and beds, oxygen and ventilators, all in effort to treat and save their kin…but a behaviour like yesterday tells that all that was in short memory, defeating the whole purpose of the stricter regulations.
A logical mind would have read the newspapers well to understand the purpose and the arrangements made by the administration so that life is not impaired even in emergency. But we failed to see logic. Unfortunately Nashik has set a series of records in this second wave of the pandemic. Unfortunate ones. And the maddening crowds on the streets to buy ‘essentials’ yesterday morning was one of them.
As one among the crowds said, “I believe that hunger is scarier than coronavirus. Hence, I took the risk of coming to the market to stock up essentials. And there is also no clarity on whether the essentials will available in the markets for the next ten days.”
Hunger sure is scarier but is our populace, particularly, those who were out to stock supplies really ones sleeping hungry?
We need to stop making excuses. We need to see clearly. Read the instructions properly and behave logically. We cannot but forget the basic intention of the administration imposing stricter lockdown and as a responsible citizen accept it. There may be different opinions about the lockdown, whether to be imposed or not. But there are ways and means to express and work out. Behaving recklessly, endangering oneself and others is definitely not a way to oppose or express.
There remained no market in the city which did not portray a picture of reckless crowd behaviour. May it be in areas of Main Road, RK, Bhadrakali Bazaar, martyr Abdul Hamid Chowk, Dudh Bazaar, Pinjar Ghat, Helbawdi, Mahatma Phule vegetable market, Dadasaheb Phalke Road, Qadar market, Chowk Mandai, Bagwanpura, Shivaji Chowk, Azad Chowk, Bharat Nagar, Wadalagaon, Mumbai Naka, Bhabha Nagar. Same was the situation at Nashik Road where people thronged Subhash Road, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Road, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj statue chowk area, hotel Vasco chowk, Shahu street, Jail Road, Deolaligaon area, all out to buy vegetables and essentials. Panchavati was no different with bakerys at Dindori naka seeing a flood of masses. Chaos prevailed at Nashik Agriculture Produce Market Committee, even as driver and single farmer with one carrier were allowed. Satpur, New Nashik, Deolali Camp, Bhagur ere no exception.
Not a single area in the city was spared. There were traffic jams and people brushing shoulders as they made their way through the markets.
Nashikites, we need to wake up and stand to the hour of crisis. This is a pandemic we have never seen before. Think of oneself, our families and all the front liners, the Covid warriors for a moment before we falsely pledge to fight Covid and win this battle. It definitely can’t be done the way the city and its people behaved on Tuesday, yesterday.