Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing the Nation on March 19, announced about Janta Curfew that will take place today (22 March) in the backdrop of Coronavirus pandemic. The Janta Curfew is a self imposed and self regulated activity that will start from 7 in the morning till 9 in the evening. And between this time, no one should step out of their homes except those people in essential services.
When AV contacted Mr Venu Gopal a bungalow owner in Karjat Ladiwali he said, “My villa is built for the purpose of renting it out for picnic, party or shoots. Since malls, cinema and other public entertainments are closed due to Coronavirus, people are rushing to holiday homes with their family and friends. If you get into details, all the nearby areas of Mumbai are hundred per cent booked.”
When we asked how do you ensure hygiene and protection, he said “Our houses are highly hygienic and people coming here are alert citizens. Still, we have kept all the options ready by providing masks, sanitisers and clean environment. It’s like staying in house.”
About 40 crore employees of traders will remain at home on the day. Besides this, Modi has also appealed to the business community to take care of the economic needs of their employees by not deducting their salary, if they are not able to come to work.
Vikas Kumar Gunjan an IT professional said, “The lockdown is announced for people’s safety but they are roaming on Juhu beach and other tourist places. Local trains are overcrowded than ever. Ironically people are taking advantage of this opportunity to spend their time in picnic and tour. National park to Chowpatty every where there is rush.”
The Coronavirus has grabbed the headlines all over the world and affecting nearly thousands of people around the globe. Due to the outbreak of Coronavirus, the Maharashtra government has ordered to shut down all malls, gyms, schools, restaurants etc. Even the state government has advised private companies to implement ‘Work from Home’ policy for their staff to encourage ‘social distancing’ to curb spreading of Coronavirus infections.
Vipin Gaur a senior journalist said, “Mumbai is closed for a reason, but here no one wants to understand its seriousness. Government should keep public places shut such as beaches and parks. There should be restrictions on public transport usage.”
The government has urged people to step out of house in the coming few weeks only if extremely necessary and work from home as much as possible. On one hand, after the government order, the streets of Mumbai and other adjourning parts of the City seems fully empty with the scare of the dreaded Coronavirus. On the other hand, some people give a damn to it.
On the conditions of anonymity, a picnic guide and arranger told AV, “People cannot stay home if you force them to. In Mumbai, they have small flats and limited options open to them. How long can one watch TV or entertain themselves? Almost all private bungalows in Palghar, Karjat, Badlapur, Wada, Mahabaleshwar and the other side of Virar are booked. People silently moved with their family and friends and are having a good long weekend.”
According to our sources, all farm houses and private bungalows situated on the outskirts of Mumbai such as Palghar, Karjat, Badlapur are packed to capacity. People are travelling along with families to these destinations to spend their forced vacation. They have organised small get-togethers, party and prayers with close- in family and friend circle. In the last few years, long weekends have become everyone’s favourite time to travel. Since there is lack of open space in Mumbai, people are going to these weekend getaway destinations.