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Even as the district administration waits for state government’s directives on lockdown 4.0, there is a possibility that ‘red zone’ Bhopal would see some relaxations in the coming days. Strict restrictions were imposed in the state capital even during the otherwise relaxed lockdown 3.0.

Gradual resumption of construction activities could be one major step towards normalising life in the city, which of late had become so used to digging up of roads for laying of sewage lines, Narmada and Kolar pipelines, Metro Work, Smart City works till they came to a grinding halt in last week of March. “Resumption of construction activities outside the red zone in the city will infuse life in Bhopal, and if properly done it is not going to be that risky either,” said an official of the district administration.

The scope of “essential goods and services” would be enlarged and shops of electronic goods, garments, electrical goods, hardware, opticals and private offices may be allowed to open. But, they will not be in the main markets, and if at all, certain category of shops are allowed to open in a market, they would be very few and open by rotation.

Standalone shops and neighbourhood shops in residential complexes would, however, be allowed to open. Liquor shops will also open in Bhopal in all likelihood in the lockdown 4.0 , said an official. Hotels, restaurants, tea shops, malls, cinema halls, salons, beauty parlours will continue to be shut.

People, while assuring that they would take all precautions to protect themselves against coronavirus infection, desperately want to get back to work. “We shall use disposables. No glasses, no plates. But we should be allowed to open our shop. There is not so much of crowd at my shop in any case that I would be required to regulate it, but even if it has to be done, we shall do it,” said Deepak, a tea stall owner in Chuna Bhatti.

Mobile repair shops, automobile repairing shops, puncture shops, hardware shops, salons, laundry, ironing shops, service stations for cars, tea and snacks shops, pan shops, liquor shops — people list all these and more when asked which shops should remain open in the lockdown 4.0. They also have a problem with timings as shops as of now except for “essential goods” may remain open from 7 am to 7 pm.

“As per present timings, shops are closed by 7 pm. With the summer season at its peak, it is unfair to close shops by 7 pm. It should be allowed till at least 9 pm, so that necessary items could be bought,” said Jeewan Sathe, a retired employee.

Going to salon scares people, but many of them feel they can't do without a haircut. “I can understand that due to salons, several Covid- 19 cases have been reported. But you can not keep them closed indefinitely. They should be allowed to operate with norms,” said Michael Shinde, a businessman.

“One can imagine the situation when no repair or maintenance work is done in the past two months at homes. Several pipelines are choked, which need immediate attention. Plumbers are available but hardware items are not available as shops are closed,” said Raju Khan, a resident of Arera Colony.

Those going without their favourite non-vegetarian dishes for the past two months are demanding opening of chicken/meat shops as well.

“Meat is available in black market. Why force people to pay extra? When people want to have it, what is the reason for not opening it? Guidelines should be made for this and strict action should be taken against those who sell without following guidelines,” said Vikas Verma, a private firm employee. District collector, Tarun Pithode, when asked what peopke could expect after May 17, said, “A ctivities would start in the peripheral areas of the city because central Bhopal is still deeply infested by Covid infection." In reply to a related question, he admitted that there was a proposal to start construction activities and open shops other than grocery/vegetables/fruits.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Ashutosh Shukla & Ramendra Singh

Quelle/Source: The Times of India, 14.05.2020

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