A 14-day blockade in Guwahati took effect on Sunday evening to tackle the growing number of coronavirus cases in the city, which the Opposition Congress described as the failure of Assam’s health minister.
The Kamrup metropolitan district, under which Guwahati falls, was completely locked from 7 p.m. Sunday until 6 p.m. July 12 with even grocery, meat and all other items closing the shutters. Only pharmacies have been authorized to operate.
This time, authorities decided not to issue passes for vehicles, even for essential services, as there were many cases of misuse during the national lockdown which took effect on March 25.
Former chief minister Tarun Gogoi criticized the decision to impose a stricter lock on Guwahati and blamed it on the ineffectiveness of health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
“The lockdown declared by Dr. Himanta B Sarma is not only reckless and also aims to conceal its failure to contain COVID patients, but also to fail to adequately organize hospital beds for treatment.
Since grocery stores and vegetable stores will remain closed during the foreclosure, city dwellers have invaded markets and department stores to stock up on essentials, ignoring standards of social distancing.
Large gatherings and long queues were seen in shops, markets and ATMs.
Taking advantage of the situation, vegetable and fish retailers have raised prices exorbitantly in almost all areas of the city.
Friday, the price of potatoes rose to 80 rupees per kg, against about 25 rupees, while cucumber was priced at 100 rupees per kg. Tomatoes and squash sold at Rs 120 per kg, while onions were sold at Rs 40-50 per kg.
“Where is the Department of Civilian Supplies? Where are the district administration and police? Why was there no control? How can we buy items for 14 days at this high rate?” said one buyer, expressing helplessness.
Many people expressed anguish when the lock came into effect at the end of the month, when the salary was not yet credited to their accounts, which put them in a difficult situation.
One rickshaw shooter said, “I can only win for the needs of the day. Where will I get money to store for 14 days? At this high price, I can’t even feed my family for a day. If there is no government help, my family will starve. “