Bhubaneswar: Highways, internal roads, small streets were largely empty and shops dotting the thoroughfares mostly closed on Wednesday morning as a 14-day lockdown came into effect in Odisha with the imposition of several restrictions.
Movement of goods carriers, however, were not affected by the shutdown — enforced by the government to break the chain of COVID-19 transmission in the state.
Early in the day, a handful of residents here were found buying essentials at grocery stores — which have been given permission to operate from 7 am till noon.
Queues were also witnessed outside some of the city’s vaccination centres, as people waited patiently for their turn to take the COVID-19 jab.
Police personnel deployed in the residential areas and along the arterial roads were seen stopping one or two persons to check if they had a genuine reason to venture out of homes.
All educational institutes, shopping malls, marketplaces, entertainment parks and cinema halls remained shut during the day in accordance with the government order.
Odisha on Wednesday registered 9,889 new COVID-19 cases and 16 more fatalities.
As the 14-day state-wide lockdown started, Food Supplies & Consumer Welfare Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain has instructed all Civil Supplies Officers (CSOs) to check black marketing and hoarding of essentials.
Taking to Twitter on Wednesday, Swain said, “I have instructed all CSOs of 30 districts to visit the markets personally and send the filed officers to strictly monitor and check black marketing and hoarding during the lockdown.”
The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to provide packaged food to people at 12 Aahaar centres in the city during the lockdown in Odisha.
Meal quantity has been reduced at the Aahaar centres due to less footfall in view of the lockdown restrictions.
The decision has been taken to avoid food wastage and the meal quantity will be increased on the basis of demand, an official of the BMC said.
The Odisha Government today capped the limit on the number of passengers to be allowed in a vehicle for permitted purposes during the lockdown.
In an amendment to its earlier order of 1 April, the Special Relief Commissioner’s (SRC’s) office said, “Two-wheeler with the rider only (no pillion rider) and four-wheelers, auto-rickshaws, taxis, including cabs/ auto-rickshaws by aggregators like Ola, Uber etc. are allowed with driver plus up to two passengers in the back seat for the permitted purposes such as travel to and from the place of residence to COVID testing centre, vaccination centre, airport/ railway station, emergency medical requirements, personnel of essential services, marriage, funeral/ last rites etc”.
The fresh order issued by the SRC’s office further said that Capital Region Urban Transport (CRUT) will be allowed to operate with a limited number of services to & from airport & railway stations during the lockdown period.
While going to the airport/ railway stations, such buses shall only pick up passengers for the above destinations only and not for any in-between stops. Similarly, such services from the airport/ railway station will not pick up any passenger en route. The services will be operated with up to the seating capacity of the bus only. No standing passengers shall be allowed, it added.