ITANAGAR, Mar 22: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal to the citizens of the country to observe a 14-hour ‘janta curfew’ on Sunday in view of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic was followed for the most part by the citizens of Arunachal, with people also coming out to their windows and balconies to clap and cheer for the essential service providers at 5 pm, as requested by Modi on 19 March.
The capital region wore a deserted look with a negligible number of vehicles on the roads, and shops, fuel depots and markets remaining closed. Pharmacies, which were allowed to be opened, were also shuttered, except for a handful in the Ganga market area.
A few grocery shops and standalone stores in Naharlagun and Yupia were open but saw very few customers.
While the hospitals anyway see a lower number of indoor patients on Sundays, the ‘curfew’ drastically reduced the number of cases that did arrive.
A few police and media vehicles were seen in the city, besides those of essential services.
Chief Minister Pema Khandu also made announcements via public speakers (installed recently as part of the smart city project), requesting everyone to stay indoors as a precautionary measure and to come to their windows or balconies at 5 pm to cheer for essential service providers such as health professionals, police and administration.
The police, who are usually seen guarding the streets during bandhs or protests, were not tasked with enforcing the curfew on the people.
“The capital police, except those on essential duties, have joined the curfew,” Capital SP Tumme Amo said.
A few shops opened late in the evening and the streets saw a slight increase in the movement of vehicles and people as the evening progressed.
Meanwhile, the Northeast Frontier Railway cancelled the Naharlagun-Guwahati Donyi Polo intercity train for the day, officials said.
The state government has already shut down the weekly markets and cinema halls, besides suspending the issuing of inner line permits to people coming from other states and protected area permits to foreign tourists. (With PTI input)