Ahead of lockdown, chaos and panic buying in Karnataka

karnataka bus shutdown covid
People wait to board buses heading back home after the Karnataka government announced a 14-day shutdown, at Jalahalli bus stand in Bengaluru on Monday, April 26, 2021. Image Credit: ANI

Bengaluru: Hours before the stringent lockdown to contain COVID-19 in Karnataka came into effect on Tuesday, people flocked to railway stations, central bus terminus and waited in serpentine queues at toll plazas on national highways to board vehicles to reach their homes.

There was a mad scramble at vegetable markets and grocery shops in all major cities to stock up on essentials.

The government decided to impose a 14-day lockdown following the recommendation of the Technical Advisory Committee on COVID-19 to contain the spread of the virus, which has grown alarmingly.

Holding their luggage, families and students swarmed the KSRTC bus stand at Majestic in the heart of the city.

The scene was a stark reminder of previous year’s panic among people during lockdown to get to their hometowns and villages.

The government said no public transport services such as metro train and buses will operate other than the city buses on contractual services to ferry employees of a few companies engaged in the manufacturing and food processing sector, a Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation officer told PTI.

The decision to impose the lockdown with exemptions for essential services, transport of goods and scheduled travel by train or plane was taken at a state cabinet meeting on Monday.

As announced by Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, movement of people, and public transportation in buses, taxis, autos and metro rail will be banned daily except from 6am to 10am when markets and shops selling essential needs like milk, groceries, eggs, fish, meat, vegetables and fruits are allowed to function.

Liquor shops or outlets will also remain open from 6-10am.

Home delivery of liquor or food parcels will be allowed to minimise movement of individuals outside their homes.

“Schools, colleges, cinema theatres, malls, gyms, hotels, restaurants, bars, pubs, clubs and non-essential shops will remain shut during the lockdown,” said the order.

Students appearing for scheduled exams are, however, allowed to travel in their own or private vehicles with their hall ticket as pass to commute.