Rural traders make hay during weekend shutdown

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By Express News Service

JAGATSINGHPUR:  The weekend shutdown in urban areas of the district has come as a blessing in disguise for traders in rural pockets. On Saturday, as soon as Jagatsinghpur Collector Sangram Keshari Mohapatra tweeted, “While the night curfew is in force across the district, the weekend shutdown is restricted to areas under Jagatsinghpur and Paradip municipality only,” residents of Paradip thronged markets in Bhutmundei, Kujang, Pankapal, Trilochanpur, Balitutha, Rahama and Taladanda to buy vegetables and other essential commodities. 

People buying vegetables at a  market
in Kujang I Express

Ashok Kumar Pradhan, a vegetable seller of Sanpur, said he made Rs 4,000 on Saturday against the usual Rs 500-Rs 1,000 on other days. Similarly, residents of Jagatsinghpur town rushed to nearby markets at Allipingal, Taradapada, Nuapole, Samadokan, Sanpur and other villages. Even as traders made the most of the situation, the villagers alleged that Covid-19 norms were brazenly violated at the markets. Several traders and customers did not wear masks. While police patrolling was intensified in urban areas to check violation of guidelines, the villages were spared during the weekend, they claimed. 

Bhutmundei sarpanch Jyotirmayee Swain said expecting a rise in the business activities, traders and buyers were asked to wear masks and maintain social distancing. The lax enforcement of Covid norms reflected in the number of positive cases and deaths in the district. Rural areas of the district have witnessed a rise in cases in the last five days. 

While 46 cases were reported from rural areas on April 21, the number went up to 62 on Sunday. In contrast, while 17 cases were reported from urban areas of the district on April 21, the number came down to 11 on Sunday. Two persons from Nuagaon and Biridi had succumbed to the virus on Saturday.