Kharghar saw long grocery queues, empty parks amid lockdown

Updated: Mar 24, 2020, 17:06 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon | Navi Mumbai

People ventured out of their homes on Tuesday morning and were seen standing in a queue for groceries without maintaining the mandatory three feet distances to avoid social contact, while parks wore a deserted look

A large queue amidst social distance directive from the state government to curb spread of COVID-19 illness at Kharghar on Tuesday morning. Pictures/Vinod Kumar Menon
A large queue amidst social distance directive from the state government to curb spread of COVID-19 illness at Kharghar on Tuesday morning. Pictures/Vinod Kumar Menon

The Kharghar police had to finally use public address system to remind the people about section 144 imposed in the state to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. A large number of public ventured out of their homes on Tuesday morning and were seen standing in a queue without maintaining the mandatory three feet distances to avoid social contact.

"We have been standing in the queue since morning, as we learned that there won’t be supply of vegetables and fruits, starting Wednesday. We came to Reliance Fresh at Sector 19 and were greeted by a long queue. While they ensured that only four to five people entered the shop at a times, the queue outside was only becoming longer and longer," said Rajiv Tyagi, a local resident.

Interestingly, the scene was pretty similar at almost every nook and corner where the grocery and dairy shops were open apart from chemist shops. The unlike buzzing Kharghar, especially around the ISKCON and Central Park which usually have a large number of morning walkers and joggers today had a grim look, with barely few people who did not wish to miss their routine.

khargharAn elderly tribal woman waiting for a mode of transport to reach Kharghar railway station without knowing that the bus services are stopped due to outbreak of COVID-19 virus.

"Central Park has been shut for last almost a week and will remain shut for the public until March 31. We used to walk around the boundary of Central Park, but many elderly people have stopped coming for even their morning walks. Around seven to eight public gardens are locked, due to which even people are not gathering for their laughter and yoga sessions," said Pradeep Inamdar (65), a resident of Sector 19, who is also Vice President of Sector 19 Residents Association and ALM.

The Gram Vikas Bhavan, in Kharghar, which is the designated quarantine center for Panvel Municipal Corporation, had police personnel deployed, as the center has around 12 fresh suspect cases of COVID 19 under quarantine. The first batch of 15 sportsmen from Panvel, who returned from Dubai and were placed under compulsory quarantine, were discharged, after they tested negative for the second time, said a senior official from PMC.

Interestingly, the local villagers, who usually are seen selling vegetables that they would procure from either Raigad market, Panvel or from their farms directly, were not allowed to sell their produces, by local PMC staff.

Tata Hospital in Kharghar has almost stopped OPD and even chemotherapy and radiation for patients, the number has drastically come down. Also, regular transporting of patients from Kharghar to Parel has also been put on hold due to the COVID 19 risk and section 144 that has already been imposed.

While Golf Course continues to be shut for regular Golfers, the main gate is opened only for locals to take a stroll, outsiders are not allowed to enter in, pointed out a security guard deployed at the main gate.

khargharEmpty Kharghar Golf Course on Monday morning

And few kilometres away is the Taloja Central Jail, where many undertrial inmates including Yes bank founder Chairman Rana Kapoor has also been shifted recently from Arthur Road Jail. The jail which would witness a large number of police escort vehicles parked outside the jail premises to transport undertrial prisoners to Sessions and other courts in and around Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, and Thane, have stopped the service, as most courts are either taking up very urgent and important cases or have postponed the hearings.

A jail official who did not wish to be identified confirmed the same and said, "Even the number of visitors coming to meet their relatives lodged inside the prison is restricted and very few turned up. This is also because there is no mode of transport for those coming from Mumbai and Thane to meet their relative lodged here."

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