Hyderabad: The 10-day, 20-hour daily lockdown came into force across Telangana at 10 am on Wednesday sans the chaos and panic-buying that gripped the people of the State during the countrywide shutdown last year.
The police including the top brass were out in full force in the city as well as all the districts to ensure that the lockdown was implemented effectively to check the spread of Covid19. The lockdown will be from 10 am to 6 am every day with a four-hour window period when all business activities would be allowed and people can step out for shopping essentials.
In most districts, top police officials including commissioners and superintendents came out on the roads to ensure effective enforcement of the lockdown. Unlike the 2020 lockdown when people indulged in panic-buying and rushed to market places and shops in hordes, there was relative calm this time around since the people themselves were anticipating the lockdown and had prepped for it given the Covid-19 situation in the State. Even the tipplers were a more sober lot than on Tuesday when they rushed to the nearest liquor outlet to pick up stocks after Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao announced the lockdown following a Cabinet decision to this effect.
Where crowds had gathered in some places, particularly in liquor shops and vegetable and meat markets, police moved in swiftly to ensure that the situation does not get out of control and warned the people to maintain physical distancing. There were, however, the odd incidents of people picking up arguments with the police but such issues were also resolved quickly.
All commercial establishments, offices and other industries remained shut. All major roads in the State wore a deserted look except for some vehicles carrying authorised persons headed for work and those requiring medical services. Agriculture and allied operations besides pharma and medical industries, however, continued with their operations without hindrances. Trucks and other goods carriers supplying essential commodities were also allowed on the major roads. Vehicular traffic barring those carrying medical supplies and goods were stopped at the State borders after 10 am.
The Covid-19 testing and vaccination process, however, continued without any obstacles across the State. People lined up at hospitals for the second dose of vaccine. The government has already issued a clear directive not to disrupt those coming and going to hospitals during the lockdown.
In most places, police had erected barricades on the roads and did not allow commuters to pass unless there was an emergency or the person was exempted from the lockdown. While railway stations witnessed huge rush with people who had already booked tickets trying to return to their native places, the crowds at MGBS and Jubilee Bus Stands in Hyderabad were minimal as the TSRTC has suspended inter-district bus services. Other public transport services except autorickshaws had no major demand during the rush hour. Similar incidents were witnessed in the majority of urban centres across the State.
Many people headed for their native places in their own vehicles since early morning on Wednesday to ensure they reach their destination before the commencement of the lockdown. Heavy movement of vehicles and traffic jams were witnessed on several highways especially on the Hyderabad-Vijayawada route. Police of both the Telugu States insisted that only people with valid e-passes issued by the respective States would be allowed to travel.