CHENNAI: As the State gets set to enter a complete lockdown from Monday, the transport department has announced 1,500 special government buses to be operated from Chennai and Tambaram to different parts of the State on Sunday.
Buses to Marthandam, Nagercoil, Thoothukudi, Senkottai, Tirunelveli, Dindigul, Madurai and Tiruchy will depart from Chennai and Tambaram between 6 pm and 11:45 pm on Sunday. Apart from this, 3,000 more buses are being operated between other major districts like Coimbatore, Tiruppur, Salem, Tiruchy and Madurai. Additional buses may be rolled out based on the demand.
There were long queues visible near toll plazas. The crowd is expected to increase on Sunday. Besides, those living in the city found transport to be a major problem. Since public transport was shut, people had to depend on autos and cabs.
“To travel from T Nagar to Kodambakkam, autos were demanding Rs 200 to Rs 300. Even bike taxis demanded 80 per cent of this amount,” said K Parvathi, a resident of T Nagar. Since there were limited government buses, long distance taxis were also in demand, which in turn surged their charges by at least 20 per cent.
Guests return home as weddings called off across State
Venkat is a worried man. He had booked a kalyana mantapa for his son’s wedding. The bride is from Bengaluru and working in a hospital. But the fresh restrictions have put him in a fix now. While the wedding is in June, he says there is no guarantee that the pandemic will subside or the cases will come down. “Theis is hard earned money and it won’t be refunded,” he says, hoping that some relaxations might kick in soon so that the wedding happens next month.
Meanwhile, Pasupathi of Sri Hari Decorators, says: “Three weddings for which we got orders got cancelled. Weddings have become a low key affair during the lockdown. We are struggling to earn a living.” The total lockdown has also impacted people who travelled all the way to Chennai from Thoothukudi for a wedding on Monday.
“With stricter lockdown measures I have now booked a return ticket for Sunday itself,” says Thalamani from Thoothukudi. In many other places, either the bride is waiting for the groom to return from abroad or vice-versa. “Things were nearly finalised, but the groom could not make it as there were no flights to India. Now, he is back but the second wave has delayed our plans,” says a pensioner, refusing to be quoted.
(Inputs: C Shivakumar @ Chennai)
Horticulture dept arranges for door delivery of veggies
From Monday, vegetables will be delivered to the doorstep through tri-cycles or Tata Ace, courtesy of local bodies. After the government announced closure of vegetable and grocery shops, officials said the Horticulture Department will arrange for direct sales from farmers to retailers. But confusion prevails on whether Koyambedu wholesale vegetable and fruit market will be shut. “There is going to be a meeting on Sunday to decide this. It comes under essential commodities,” said a government official. Meanwhile, Chennai Koyambedu Foodgrains Wholesale Merchants Association secretary R Punnaiappan said the foodgrains market will be shut from Monday. “There won’t be any shortage in supplies as the government is ensuring the supply chain is not disrupted,” he said.
(Inputs: C Shivakumar @ Chennai)