Panaji: Day 1 of the 15-day statewide curfew, which has been imposed to break the COVID-19 infection chain, saw some movement of people at various places on Sunday morning.
However, people generally preferred to stay indoors with almost no activity visible during the second half of the day with only pharmacies remaining open and parcel takeaway facility available at restaurants.
In Panaji, all commercial establishments dealing in farm products, grocery items and other essential goods remained open during the first half till around 1 pm. Restaurants provided only the takeaway facility.
Many residents from the outskirts of Panaji like St Cruz, Merces, Chimbel, Ribandar and Dona Paula visited the city for their purchases. Many shops did brisk business, as long queues were seen outside establishments. The city market, however, remained closed for the fifth day on Sunday.
City Mayor Rohit Monserrate visited the market along with staff of the Corporation of the City of Panaji and took stock of the situation. A decision was likely to be arrived at on Sunday to allow vegetable, fruit and fish vendors to conduct business.
Areas in rural areas of Salcete, by and large, wore a deserted look with majority of the villages already imposing a lockdown, as cases continue to surge. While grocery stores remained open, the police personnel were not very strict with the public. Security was, however, tightened around the nakabandi points to prevent people from moving around.
The government came in for criticism from some citizens, who said the curfew was indeed required a fortnight earlier. “Government put curbs on celebrations like Holi and Easter but went ahead with the elections. We fail to understand the logic of the government. Many deaths could have been avoided had the government acted in time, but it’s better late than never. The damage has, however, been done,” said a youth Arun Fernandes. Similar sentiments were expressed by many other youth.
In Porvorim, a rush was witnessed outside the general stores at many places during the morning hours.
Many areas of Bicholim also witnessed a rush of people, who could be seen moving around to purchase the essential household items. However, the presence of police at various spots acted as a deterrent against crowding. Police were seen questioning many pedestrians, while crowds were chased by the cops in some places.
The Sakhalim market remained open till noon. People who had gathered in the afternoon were dispersed by the police in some places.