New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) Despite the rapid spike in the number of Covid-19 cases in the national capital, the markets are choc a bloc with crowds even after the end of the festivals. Neither the shopkeepers nor the buyers are taking precautionary measures.
Old Delhi’s Bhagirath Palace is the largest market for medicines and medical goods in North India. In case the market is closed for a few days, the supply of medicines across North India is likely to get disrupted. In such a situation, the supply of medicines will be dependent on the direct distribution system of the pharmaceutical companies.
During the nationwide lockdown also, the market was not closed for more than four to five days due to which the supply of medicines was not affected.
Thousands of people come here every day to buy medicines. Keeping this in mind, the Delhi police banned the entry of vehicles here so that the area doesn’t gets crowded. However, now the shopkeepers have extended their shops on the sidewalks as well as roads. Masks, sanitizers and other items are being sold on both sides of the road.
The market was closed twice apart from the nationwide lockdown due to the surge in Covid-19 cases. The Bhagirath Palace Market Association said, “Looking at the increasing number of Covid-19 cases we had closed the market twice. This was done to protect the shopkeepers as well as the buyers from contracting Covid-19 infection.”
Most of the shopkeepers are wholesalers here. Therefore, people are not only purchasing medicines from the shops but a lot of people are engaged in loading medicines on vehicles too.
Apart from this, despite the number of Covid-19 cases crossing the 8,000 mark, hundreds of people can be seen roaming in the market without masks. Not only the buyers but many shopkeepers too are neglecting the safety measures.
Subhash Chakraborty, a shopkeeper at Bhagirath Palace, said, “The market association has made several appeals to follow all the safety norms but still a lot of shopkeepers as well as workers are not following the instructions. A lot of them don’t wear masks. Apart from this, they keep their goods on the streets due to which there is jam in the market and hence no social distancing is being followed.”
Another shopkeeper Devendra Pahuja said, “It is difficult to implement any safety norm in the market as the crowd is huge. Everyone has occupied the empty space available outside their shops. So now the possibility of social distancing is almost nill here. Since the mask is mandatory so a lot of people are adhering to it.”
The Delhi government has asked the Centre to allow it to close the markets which are hotspots and where the Covid-19 guidelines are not being followed.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “We have noticed that in some markets a large number of people were neither wearing masks nor following social distancing norms. This has led to the surge in the corona cases. If a market becomes a hotspot because of people ignoring the Covid-19 guidelines, the Delhi government should be allowed to close it for a few days. We have sent a proposal to the Centre in this regard.”