Bhubaneswar: A day before the ‘Sabitri Brata’-an auspicious occasion for married women in Odisha- market places having fruits, saree and cosmetic shops across the State witnessed heavy rush on Wednesday despite the lockdown restrictions.
Though the government has allowed opening of shops amid strict adherence to Covid protocols till 11 am from Monday to Friday, many commercial establishments were found running business even after 11 am, until police intervened.
In Bhubaneswar, the Market Building area, Kalpana square, Unit-4, Rasulgarh Haat and several other places witnessed heavy congregation of shoppers.
Even though the police had earlier warned shop owners to shut the doors before 11 am, they allegedly flouted the direction.
People said they had to venture out for Puja shopping despite fears of infection.
Many were seen wearing mask improperly while social distancing norms were thrown to wind during the binge shopping. Shop owners were found to carry out business after 11 am, flouting the government guidelines.
On the other hand, traders said that business has nosedived as compared to the previous festivities.
In Rourkela, similar scenes prevailed as married women thronged market places to buy the necessary articles including fruits, saree, vermilion, bangles and other items for the Puja.
“I had stayed indoors for the last three-four months. Today, I stepped out to shop ahead of the ‘Sabitri Brata’. All the shoppers are seen wearing masks, but there is no social distancing precaution at the markets,” said a woman shopper.
A shopkeeper said “I strictly adhere to covid appropriate behaviour while doing business. We wear mask and ask people to maintain physical distance.”
Heavy crowd was also witnessed in major markets in Berhampur. Shops were seen operating after 11 am at almost all market areas. According to sources, police and the civic body authorities had earlier instructed to stop business activities by 11 am. However, the restrictions went haywire.
In Cuttack, roads stretching from Badambadi to Ranihat, Dolamundai-Haripur-Pithapur to Choudhury Bazar, Buxi Bazar to Naya Sarak-High Court square witnessed traffic jam for several hours in the morning hours.
Similar situation was also seen in Chhatra Bazar and Malgodown areas in the city.
Market areas having fruits, sarees and stationary item shops wore a crowded look in Balasore too as women shoppers thronged to buy essential puja materials. No covid protocols were adhered to during shopping even as the lockdown restrictions are in place.