March 26, 2020
THANE: The municipal administration here, on Wednesday, laid stern guidelines for vendors and traders operating during the shutdown days after it received flak for failing to rein in crowd milling around in public places like markets and grocery stores around the city.
Municipal commissioner Vijay Singhal issued a diktat, Wednesday morning, asking all crowded vegetable markets in the city to be vacated and stalls temporarily shifted to roads in nearby areas. These stalls would be allowed to operate only at a distance of minimum 100 feet between them. In addition, the stall owners should put markings on the roads for their customers to wait at 4 feet apart to ensure social distancing, he said.
Even as Singhal set a time period for the execution, the limited manpower available with the administration somehow accomplished the task with several areas in the city yet to be covered till evening. Officials claimed they were at their jobs and said markings were done at several areas including Manpada, Majiwada, Dhokali, Manorama nagar, Ansari Road, Rabodi among others in the lake city.
All grocery and medical shops could operate for business provided the distance between two shops was not less than 100 feet. If there were two grocery shops or chemists at a distance less than 100 feet, then an alternate time schedule could be worked out between them so as to avoid unnecessary crowding.
“The orders were given by the civic chief Wednesday morning to all deputy commissioners of all the wards in the city with instructions that those units of those traders or vendors who were not ready to comply by the safety norms, be forcibly shut,” said deputy municipal commissioner Sandeep Malvi quoting from the diktat given by the civic chief.
Meanwhile, even as the administration enforced the rule at several areas there were few vendors who were unaware of the plans and were seen entertaining customers as usual. “I had no idea of the enforcement and no one came here to tell us about the same. We are anyways excercising caution all by ourselves,” said a trader at Naupada.
Customers, however, armed with masks said the initiative was laudable but taken very late. “Hundreds of people have already seen crowding shops and markets over the last three days already defeating the purpose of social distancing. The authorities must now facilitate mobile markets in localities which would deter people from travelling all the way to central markets,” said Amit Jadhav, a resident of Ghodbunder.
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Source : timesofindia.indiatimes.com