The district administration announced an eight-day intense lockdown from Thursday night till July 31 in Gudiyattam town. But it was cancelled at the last minute. While the administration is yet to state the official reason, highly placed sources revealed that government did not want to antagonise voters with the polls round the corner.
“Also, there was a view that locking down the town alone would affect the surrounding villages as all had to come to Gudiyattam for their needs,” sources revealed.
However, traders, public and social service organisations all pressed for intense lockdown and had even petitioned Collector A Shanmuga Sundaram in this connection.
Rotary governor nominee JKN Palani said, “We petitioned the Collector for such a lockdown due to rising COVID-19 positive cases in the town.” So, the sudden cancellation left traders and public fuming.
However, higher ups in Chennai felt that positive cases averaging 20 daily did not warrant an intense lockdown, sources revealed.
Lawyer K Mohan wondered why the officials remained silent when public crowded in markets for two days, despite the threat of catching the virus, to stock essentials ahead of the 8-day lockdown. So, does the lockdown cancellation mean that the town has turned COVID-19-free.
S Sampath Kumar, another resident, added, “I venture out of the house only once a week to purchase important needs. But due to the lockdown announcement, I visited crowded areas and under the impression that I have not been infected. I now have enough groceries and vegetables that will last till the end of the month.”
For traders, the issue was different. Bakers had emptied their stocks and granted leave to their workers. “The cancellation subverted everything and now all have to rearrange their plans,” a baker seeking anonymity said.
The town’s 96,000 population being crammed in narrow streets and bylanes was ideal for coronavirus spread. Gudiyattam town’s positive tally includes 695 cases till date. Total deaths were 19.