Pune roars with claps from people

Nikhil Borkar & Camil Parkhe
Monday, 23 March 2020

The janata curfew from 7 am to 9 pm was seen as a massive nation-wide attempt to break the spread cycle of coronavirus. Shops were closed, public transport was kept at bare minimum, autos and private vehicles were off roads and people refrained from venturing out of their homes.

PUNE: The call for Sunday’s ‘janata curfew’ issued by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, got full support from residents of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, who decided to stay indoors on the entire day. The only time they came out of their house was at 5 pm when they came out of their homes to applaud and appreciate those working in these testing times of COVID-19 pandemic. 

The janata curfew from 7 am to 9 pm was seen as a massive nation-wide attempt to break the spread cycle of coronavirus. Shops were closed, public transport was kept at bare minimum, autos and private vehicles were off roads and people refrained from venturing out of their homes.  Even senior citizens and others who normally go out for morning walk, preferred to remain at home. Arterial roads like Fergusson College Road, Jungli Maharaj Road, Tilak Road, Pune Satara Road, Pune Solapur Road were deserted. The Mumbai-Pune Expressway that is generally buzzing on weekends, also sported a deserted look.

“There was no untoward incident and people peacefully observed ‘janata curfew’, said Commissioner of Police K Venkatesham. Punekars also seemed to enjoy the silence around them -- so much so that even chirping of birds in their surroundings made it to special Facebook posts.  

The total silence and absence of any kind of movement witnessed during the day experienced a brief halt at exactly 5 pm when a large number of people came to their balconies or on building terraces, banging steel plates and other utensils and some blowing conchs. This gesture was to express gratitude towards doctors, nurses, para-medical staff and all others involved in healthcare of those affected by the corona virus.

The enthusiasm that followed saw some people coming out to greet those who participated in this ‘appreciation’ process, who were promptly disbursed by police to ensure ‘social distancing’. 

Those who resorted to bursting crackers created the only blip in an otherwise pollution-free day. 

The Pune railway station which was crowded with passengers till Friday evening, was empty on Sunday. Large number of policemen were present at strategic points in the city such as Katraj square, Nigdi, Deccan, Swargate etc. Youth and children were seen playing cricket at a few locations in Wadarwadi, River bed area and Aundh.  Officials of Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) health department were on special duty on Sunday. The Pune police band performed at at B J Medical College to appreciate efforts of doctors and nurses.

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