Unlock 1.0 has begun on 1st of this month in our country. Offices – both private and public, malls, holy places, restaurants, hotels have all been allowed to open and do business ‘as usual’ after taking the necessary precautions. Public transport is on the road, albeit small in number and also with the stipulation that the number of seats in a bus will limit the number of commuters .
Unlock 1.0 Reality in Kolkata: Desperate to reach workplace, people are flouting every rule in the book. Not to be encouraged, but eminently understandable in the current extremely uncertain economic environment tempered with rampant lay-offs and pay-cuts. The cascading number of commuters on the road are risking their life and limbs to reach their destination which in majority cases is their office. The educational institutions have not yet reopened; closure has been extended till 30 June. But I had certain official duties in my College and yesterday was my first unlockdown journey there.
Most (99%) people were wearing masks. Shops, even autos in certain routes were providing hand sanitiser on demand. But definitely social distancing has flown out of the window. Forget the public transport which people are rushing to in desperation, the overall fear it seems have waned. Locked down at home for a couple of months,some people are out into the streets to simply meet and greet. Buying and eating snacks on the road is also not an uncommon sight. A little more caution, greater awareness is in order. Otherwise the sacrifice of locking ourselves for such a prolonged period, and depriving the economy of productivity of unimaginable quantum, will all but go futile.