Despite relaxations, lockdown blues continue in Bengaluru

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Despite relaxations, lockdown blues continue in Bengaluru

Bengaluru:  The eastern suburbs of the city — Iblur, Bellandur, Kaikondrahalli and Kodathi — continue to show the signs of lockdown with very little traffic and shut shops, despite relaxations.

“Only 30-40 per cent of my colleagues are attending office despite easing of lockdown. Many people are scared of Covid-19 and are not coming out,” said Prabhas Chandra, 33, an employee at Reliance Jio, waiting for a bus near his office at Bellandur bus station.

The private company employee from Paradip, Odisha, said the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses were minimally occupied as it resumed services on Tuesday after nearly two months.

Empty buses with 3-4 passengers were seen plying on the roads.

The scene was similar at Agara, Bellandur, Kaikondrahalli and Kodathi bus stations, which used to teem with people awaiting buses.

Similar was the story with autorickshaws, allowed to ply with limited passengers from Tuesday.

Feroze, 33, an autorickshaw driver from Dharwad, waiting opposite Wipro headquarters on the Sarjapura Road, didn’t find many takers for his services on the first day. “I could earn only Rs 300. Only a few people are asking for the service. I took out my autorickshaw at 7 a.m,” said Feroze.

Even if a lot of people ask for services, Feroze couldn’t take more than two in his three-wheeler to maintain physical distancing amid the pandemic. Corroborating Feroze’s views, not many autorickshaws were plying, a far cry from the pre-lockdown times.

The Wipro headquarters entrance and the series of shops opposite its main gate always buzzed with activity with many people buying food and other necessities. The entire complex is shuttered. There’s no sign of the dosa sellers who cooked them on embers.

Near the Iblur flyover by Agara lake, Harish, a Swiggy delivery boy, said orders in that part of the city had reduced to 8-9 a day. “In the pre-lockdown time, I could deliver more than 15 orders a day. Everything is changed now,” he told IANS.

Meanwhile, even as a microbrewery on one of the main roads in the area remained shut, an employee was seen seeking buyers outside for freshly brewed beer at Rs 500 a litre.

Similarly, a handful of people lined up maintaining physical distance at the liquor shop on the Sarjapura Road to buy some bottles.

Further towards Sarjapura, a Maruti Suzuki Nexa showroom had opened a couple of days ago after nearly two months. The showroom, open only till 6 p.m, is hoping to sell at least one car a day unlike four earlier. “We had 24-person sales team. Currently, we have only 6-7,” said Jagdish Dihar, 41, who manages the showroom.

At the entry point of Carmelaram, opposite Siemens and Accenture office complex, Guntur Mess that served traditional Andhra cuisine was empty. “We are serving food to 10-12 people a day. The lockdown effect is profound,” said Rayappa, a partner of the hotel.

Despite the lack of business, Rayappa said his mess was arranging free food for people walking on the road.

Across the 10-12 km stretch from Kodathi to Iblur, a number of shops — groceries and others — were open, and an equal number shut. People didn’t venture out to resume pre-lockdown kind of life.

The signature Bengaluru traffic was missing in this part of the city. Despite fewer vehicles, almost 90 per cent less than normal days, the traffic police were manning the junctions, regulating vehicle movement and traffic lights.

However, a few cars and two-wheelers were seen violating the physical distancing rules, with some of them running on full capacity with people without masks.

Though outdoor activity is less despite the easing of restrictions, it definitely better than 2-3 week ago when almost everything was shut.

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