Life returns on Lucknow roads but caution remains

The relaxation of lockdown restrictions on Monday was visible on the streets of Lucknow on Monday where the traffic was almost 75 per cent of the normal load.

Since taxi cabs, tempos, auto and e-rickshaws were still not plying on most roads, the quantum of traffic was comparatively less. The majority of the barricades in the state capital had been lifted.

Vendors were back on the streets and were seen doing brisk business.

“Today is the first day when I have sold more than 15 kilograms of mango in this season,” said Manohar Lal, a vendor as he pushed his half empty cart on the Kapurthala crossing.

While vendors selling street food, including samosas, also did brisk business, many of them were seen requesting customers not to eat on the streets.

“We are packing ‘samosas’ and ‘pakodas’ but we do not want any trouble, so we are not allowing customers to eat the food here,” said Dinesh Kumar whose samosa stall had around 18 customers lined up.

What was remarkable about Monday was that more than the customers, it was the shopkeepers who maintained safety protocols and were even seen alerting customers who took off their masks.

Nearly per cent of the shops in Hazratganj, the main city centre, remained closed on Monday because the district administration has stated that the left-right rule will continue with one side of the shops opening only on alternate days.

Barber shops and salons opened, but owners allowed customers strictly by appointment and social distancing was ensured.

In Prayagraj, despite easing of the lockdown, the people did not venture out of their houses in large numbers. Government employees who resumed working in full strength were seen commuting to their offices.

Monday was ‘Ganga Dussehra and the banks of Sangam had a limited number of devotees who had come for the holy dip as per tradition. Several sadhus were seen taking a holy dip in the river, but the turnout was far less compared to other years.

Restaurants in most cities did not open on Monday.

A restaurant owner in Lucknow, Sudhir Singh, said, “It will take us a few days before we reopen. There is cleaning, sanitization to be done and stocks have to be replenished. Moreover, our workers have gone home and we need to call them back. We still do not know whether sales will be as good as they were and we need to be cautious about the quantity as well.”

Restaurants selling Mughlai food did not reopen because the ban on the sale of meat has not been lifted.