Panic buying gripped Chennai, Coimbatore,
Tirupur corporation areas on Saturday as total
lockdown will be in force in these places from Sunday for a few days. Markets and provision stores saw hordes of people, throwing physical distancing to a complete toss.
Around 11.30am, chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami announced that groceries and vegetable shops would be allowed to function till 3pm today in five corporations — Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Salem and Tirupur. This is also applicable to shops in suburbs of Chennai, falling in Chengalpet, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts. The CM requested people to maintain social distancing norms and cooperate with the government
However, the damage had been done by then as vegetables had been sold out in several markets by 10am due to panic buying. In Broadway temporary market in Chennai, all shanties had shut by 10am. In Thiruvanmiyur and Thiruvottiyur, only onions and tomatoes were available.
The crowd at a market in Coimbatore . Photo by J Jackson
Similar was the scene at bakeries and pharmacies too. “There is more than usual crowd than on a normal day,” said S Gokul, a pharmacist in Nanganallur.
A private milk trader in Madipakkam said that people were buying several packets despite appeals that milk would be available even in the coming days
The crowd at a temporary market at MGR Nagar in Chennai. Photo by C Suresh Kumar
Earlier, DMK president M K Stalin had tweeted demanding that the government should allow grocery stores and markets to remain open till Saturday evening to prevent crowds.
The crowd at Kothaval Chavadi market in Chennai. Photo by Ramesh Shankar