Unlock 0.1: Life limps back to normalcy in Kolkata

After more than two months of nationwide Covid-19 lockdown, West Bengal state capital gears up to step outdoors on Monday albeit with restrictions. Amid spurt in number of Corona cases across India, life springs back to normalcy in this bustling eastern metropolis as people were seen thronging the roads.

Bus stops in Kolkata once again turned crowded but with significantly less number of public vehicles plying on the city roads, as a result, daily commuters had a harrowing time in reaching their workplaces on time. Long queues were seen at bus stands on major arterial stretches like Central Avenue, Esplanade, Shyambazar, Bagbazar, Kamalgazi etc.

According to police sources, traffic snarls were seen at many intersections as some signals still remained non-functional after cyclone Amphan.

“The traffic situation is more or less normal. Government buses are plying on the roads while limited private vehicles have also resumed their services. There were congestions at certain traffic points in the morning like BT Road, Jessore Road, Ultadanga intersection etc,” said Sandip Roy of Kolkata Police traffic control.

According to officials, long distance train services, government buses, ferry services on the river Ganges, taxis and auto-rickshaws resumed operation while private bus operators decided to stay off as they said carrying fewer passengers would lead to losses.

Earlier, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had announced that buses cannot ply if passengers exceed the total seating capacity and all people on board must wear masks and gloves.

Taxis and auto-rickshaws were also seen plying with restrictions, carrying only two passengers. The ferry services were resumed between Kolkata and its twin district Howrah carrying only 40 per cent of its capacity on each journey in one-hour interval, sources said.

Many temples and religious places were thrown open too on Monday morning, following strict Covid-19 guidelines.