CHENNAI: A Sunday that commanded greater discipline from the public dawned with showers across the city, holding back people inside their homes. The roads looked deserted on the first day of the State’s four-day intense innings. “Usually, morning hours will see have crowds in market places and managing them would be a tough job. On Sunday, very few people came out of their houses to purchase milk,” said Kannan, Inspector of Abhiramapuram police station.
“Though only essential services are allowed these days, we had one-third of the usual vehicle movements later in the day. This shows how many people have been sauntering on the roads without any purpose at all,” said a senior traffic police officer. Meanwhile, despite the complete lockdown, police booked 826 people roaming without a reason and seized 602 vehicles including 543 two-wheelers. Another 646 cases were registered against those who violated traffic rules.
Since the State was brought under lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Tamil Nadu police have collected a fine amount of Rs 3.27 crore from people violating the rules during the curfew, and seized 2.76 lakh vehicles as a measure to keep the motorists off the road. The Tamil Nadu police have so far arrested 3.24 lakh people across the State.
Milk in short supply
The first day of the complete lockdown saw Chennaiites frantically running from pillar to post to buy milk. While the milk packets sold in grocery shops in some parts of the city were sold out by 6.30 am, at some Aavin parlours, the shelves ran out of milk packets as early as 8 am.
Aavin’s efforts to deliver milk through online food delivery platforms like Zomato and Dunzo failed to attract people as they provided service only to those who purchased Aavin products for a minimum of Rs 200, besides charging Rs 60 as delivery charge. Murugan of Korattur said, “The price of one litre of Aavin milk’s blue pack costs Rs 46. When I tried to purchase through mobile app, I was asked to pay Rs 106 for it. Forcing people to buy Aavin’s other dairy products so as to get the milk is completely unacceptable.”
“The government could have allowed the sale of milk through shops till 9.30 am, if it wanted to close the shops completely. How can we rely only on mobile carts for buying the milk” questioned K Santhish, a resident of Ambattur.
S A Ponnusamy, State president, Tamil Nadu Milk Dealers Welfare Association said, “Panic buying of milk was mainly because of lack of clarity over the sale of milk. The government should issue clear guidelines for selling the milk through shops.” Aavin officials could not be reached for comments.