Shoppers and new year revellers gathered at popular hotspot like Connaught Place and Sarojini Nagar on Friday even as there was intensive patrolling and enforcement to ensure adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour, amid a rise in infections in the national capital.
At Sarojini Nagar Market, crowds were seen in the areas where enforcement teams were not present. "Today, when I visited the market, I saw that there was smaller crowd in interior areas where there was police patrolling and enforcement teams of district. But outer areas of the market had a huge crowd with some people not even wearing masks," said a visitor.
Ashok Randhawa, president of Sarojini Nagar Mini Market Traders' Association, however, rued that there was a thin crowd and shopkeepers incurred huge losses. "The shops are opening on an odd-even basis. We had stocked up woollen clothes for selling but now with thin crowds we are not anticipating a huge business. How will we store these clothes and whether they will remain in vogue next year is also the question," he said.
Randhawa said that with December 31 being an odd day, shops with odd numbers opened and it is supposed remain the same on January 1, since it is also an odd day. "But the owners of shops with even numbers spoke to the authorities and tomorrow, despite it being January 1, shops with even numbers will open. This will upset the entire month's set up. How will the enforcement teams challan shops?"
He stressed that they are ensuring adherence to COVID-19 norms in the market and even distributing masks to visitors and shops are not allowing entry to those without masks. According to market association of Connaught Place, a Delhi police team was patrolling and making announcements asking people to leave timely in order to reach home by 10 pm as per the guidelines.
"The crowd is usual. It is exactly what it is everyday. Even if the government has asked the shops to open on odd even, the crowd is still the same. It’s a pity that election rallies can go and the traders have to suffer," said Atul Bhargav, president, New Delhi traders association.
Enforcement staff from NDMC were also on the ground to ensure that the Delhi Disaster Management Authority's guidelines are followed, he said, adding that despite the government's announcements the crowd is not exactly thinner. There were long queues at metro station gates.
Strict action was taken against those found violating the DDMA guidelines and not following Covid-appropriate behaviour, the police said. From ensuring that night curfew is strictly enforced to intensifying patrolling in areas such as Connaught Place, Chanakyapuri, Hauz Khas among other specific areas of party hubs and prosecuting those found indulging in drunken driving or eve-teasing, the Delhi Police had put its force on toes also with respect to anti-terror measures.
Special teams in plain clothes including special teams of women personnel had been deployed across the national capital to ensure safety and security of women, police said. Delhi Police Spokesperson, Chinmoy Biswal said, "Adequate number of police arrangements had been made. Strict enforcement of DDMA guidelines were being ensured and citizens were requested to abide by the guidelines and follow Covid-appropriate behaviour."
Police personnel were patrolling at different areas in the national capital to ensure that the Covid appropriate behaviours was being followed and smooth flow of traffic was being ensured.
With inputs from PTI.