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Open shops offer relief in Guwahati on first day of lockdown

A trickle of shoppers stepped out to buy daily essential items like flour, bread and milk

By Ali Fauz Hassan in Guwahati
  • Published 26.03.20, 1:12 AM
  • Updated 26.03.20, 3:25 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
Smaller retail stores in Fancy Bazar and Lakhtokia drew circles on the ground in front of the shop, to demarcate where buyers should stand, while waiting for their turn. File picture

The first day of the lockdown in the city was marked by deserted streets though a few wholesale and retail grocery shops in Fancy Bazar, the commercial hub, remained partly open for the better part of the day.

A trickle of shoppers stepped out to buy daily essential items like flour, bread and milk.

Shops like Nirmal Sweets, Vikash and others near the Shani temple in Fancy Bazar catered to retail customers, while wholesale shops in Gelapatti were also open for business.

Nirmal Sharma of Nirmal Sweets told The Telegraph: “We have been selling bread, milk and other necessities to the few customers that turned up. We will keep our shop open, otherwise the people will suffer.”

He was insistent on customers keeping distance from each other, in line with directives from the district administration.

Smaller retail stores in Fancy Bazar and Lakhtokia drew circles on the ground in front of the shop, to demarcate where buyers should stand, while waiting for their turn.

A retailer in Lakhtokia also complained of hike in prices of rice, pulses and other essential items at the wholesale shops.

Milk sellers could be seen at many street corners, selling to consumers.

The Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) vegetable market in Fancy Bazar saw little movement on Wednesday, after it was flooded with buyers on the eve of the lockdown on Tuesday. Onions had disappeared, while the price of potatoes marked an increase, according to buyers.

Market secretary Arup Choudhury said, “We have received a proposal to temporarily shift the market to the old jail premises nearby to ensure the people do not stand close to each other while buying vegetables. We have no issue provided all arrangements are made at the old jail complex. Dispur is also working on the modalities to bring vegetables, potatoes and onions to the city to meet the demand. We had suspended operations today because of a lack of clear guidelines.”

A wholesaler said, “We have advised all our members to open the shops from tomorrow, but we have not received any specific timing for the opening and shutting down of our shops. We did not open our shops today as we are coordinating with our staff and labour force to resume their services from tomorrow.”

The labourers have requested the government and their respective employers that they will have to receive proper medical check-up on a daily basis, for which the government and also employers have promised to do.”

Additional reporting by Sanjana Bordoloi