KUNAL CHATTERJEE, Kolkata: As Kolkata like most cities across the country shut down following the Prime Minister’s call for a ‘Janta Curfew’, the 45-minute drive from Thakurpukur to Khidderpore took barely nine minutes on the Sunday morning. The city may be used to bandhs, but on Sunday, the roads weren’t just empty, but not a single shop had lifted their shutters. Almost bandh-like scene was witnessed at Esplanade, Sealdah, Howrah, Phoolbagan, Hazra Crossing, Ultadanga, Manicktala, Shyambazar, Gariahat, Tollygunge and Kasba.
The spontaneous ‘Janta Curfew’ called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a dress rehearsal to fight the deadly coronavirus was an overwhelming success. From Noth Kolkata to South, from Howrah to Central Kolkata, the picture was the same: empty roads, few public transport with kids having a gala time playing on the streets.
Local trains were almost empty. Sealdah and Howrah station wore a near deserted look as most of the long distant trains were cancelled. Suburban train services were limited. Metro services were on but without passengers.
This correspondent took only seven minutes to reach Tollygunge from Thakurpukur and found that there were only four people at the Metro station. In the next ten minutes, only two other persons came by to find out if the underground services were indeed running.
It was a respite to find that a tea shop was open. At least ten men from the locality were waiting for tea to be served and the shopkeeper was making brisk business.
Bijan Halder, the shopkeeper, said, “What will I do by staying at home. I don’t have anyone to call my own. My shop is open 365 days. So people come here even when there is a shutdown.”
Susanta Roy wasn’t too bothered by the coronavirus scare. “It is not possible to ask my mom or wife to make tea so many times, especially on a holiday. So me and my friends have come here,” he said sipping tea.