Gurgaon, the millennium city adorned with skyscrapers, once bustling with life—both commercial and social—continued to wear a deserted look today despite the Ministry of Home Affair (MHA) issuing guidelines easing the stringent lockdown.
Most offices remained closed and residences continued with their stringent no-meeting policy. Domestic helps have been largely barred from joining back work as fear looms large with the spike in coronavirus cases.
While the MHA, in its guidelines, gave its approval for most economic activities to restart, life stood still in the city, which comes under the orange zone.
According to the guideline, construction work, standalone salons, liquor shops, essential and non-essential goods shops were allowed to reopen, besides allowing domestic helps in.
However, none of that has happened. The Haryana government has not yet given its approval to the liquor vendors to open. A liquor shop owner, who refused to be identified, said that negotiations are on but no final decision has been taken. Of the many shops located at the Sikanderpur Market, selling hardware items and home accessories, just a couple had opened.
“Shops are allowed to open but there is unrealistic fear among the people, they are too scared to open their shops,” said one of the few laborers sitting around the shop which saw no activities or customers. Besides, there is a huge shortage of labor force, engaged as daily wage earners.
Most construction sites remained closed too. “Many of the workers have returned to their villages after the Home Ministry allowed movement of migrant laborers. They are not willing to return anytime soon,” a contractor, sitting idly next to his site, said.
Barring a few, residential complexes have decided not to allow domestic helps to rejoin work—again due to the fear of getting infected.
The only difference one could spot was the relaxation in screening by the police and resumption of cab services. A few Ola and Uber taxis could be spotted on the road ferrying passengers.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had imposed the nationwide lockdown on March 25. It has been extended twice now, once on April 14, and then beyond May 3.
It will be a big challenge for the Centre to resume normal economic activities. Further, the unprecedented, mass paranoia that has set in will be another impediment to overcome—not just for the government but everybody.
Salaries and jobs are in danger for people engaged both in organized and unorganized sectors. But no one seems to be bothered about this danger.
The number of coronavirus cases in the country crossed 42,000 today, despite being under stringent lockdown since March 25. On March 25, the number of cases was lower than 600. Is the lockdown working for us? We need to have a rethink..