THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With relaxation in lockdown restrictions and Onam rush beginning, the city roads have started witnessing crowd. Despite the Covid-19 scare, shops in East Fort, Chalai market and MG Road have witnessed brisk business in the last few days. However, the police department is planning to deploy more officials and strengthen patrolling in the city areas to manage the crowd and traffic for the next two weeks.
According to DCP Divya Gopinath, though this year’s Onam rush won’t be as much as the previous years, people will be keen to go out after being stuck at home for too long. With Chalai and Palayam markets being major trade centres, a Market Management Committee has been formed to manage the crowd there. The committee consists of shop owners, local SHO and ward councillor. “Traders have been asked to conduct sales while adhering to Covid-19 protocols. Volunteers will be appointed by the committee that will monitor the crowd in the markets. They will check whether people are adhering to social distancing and enforcement will be done if a violation is detected,” said Divya.
Shops have been instructed to make markings to maintain social distancing. Plans for a token system are also in the pipeline. More police officials will be deployed in busy areas along with bike and foot patrolling units. The number of private vehicles on road is also spiking owing to absence of public transport. “The shops are now open from 7am. Morning and evening hours will witness rush. The public can make use of the lean hours between 11am and 3pm for shopping. This will reduce crowding at shops and traffic during peak hours to a great extent,” she said.
According to Arun Raj, ACP, Traffic South, Thiruvananthapuram City, bike patrolling will be done in busy business areas to control the traffic during Onam. “Usually, Thampanoor Railway station and bus station get heavily crowded. Also, we deploy more force at tourist destinations like Shankhumugham and Kovalam beaches. This year, we will focus on busy trade areas,” he said.
DCP Divya Gopinath urged the residents to maintain Covid-19 protocols while they are out shopping. Masks are mandatory. If a shopkeeper is not wearing a mask, avoid shopping from there. She also urged people not to lower their masks while talking.