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Kolkata roads wear deserted look amid coronavirus scare

PTI | Kolkata | Updated: 18-03-2020 23:05 IST | Created: 18-03-2020 23:05 IST
Kolkata roads wear deserted look amid coronavirus scare

Kolkata and its nearby areas wore a deserted look on Wednesday with the city's public transport carrying fewer passengers, amid the scare of the coronavirus, officials said. From Garia in the south to Dunlop in the northern tip of the city, bus stands and depots were less crowded than other weekdays with fewer people having ventured out, wearing masks of different makes.

Kolkata Traffic Police sources said the flow of vehicles, both commercial and private, were lesser in number in the city and there was no major traffic snarl in any stretch during the day. "It seems that marginally less number of vehicles have hit the roads. But we cannot attribute that to any specific reason," the sources said.

Autorickshaws, which ply along scheduled routes across the city, had a lower waiting time as many daily commuters opted to work from home in wake of the state government's advisory to avoid crowded places. "Don't know how long will this continue," Suresh Shaw, an autorickshaw driver plying on the Hudco-Karunamoyee route, said.

Roadside eateries in different commercial hubs of the city also saw a lesser number of customers despite it being a working day. "Less than half of the usual number of daily customers are turning up for the past three days. We are curtailing the daily purchase of vegetables and fish," Dinanath Basak, a roadside dhaba owner in Salt Lake Sector V, said.

Passenger footfall in the North-South Line of the Kolkata Metro, which links Noapara to Garia, stood at 5.32 lakh on Monday, as against an average weekday ridership of 6.2 to 6.5 lakh, a spokesperson said. The passenger count in government-run buses has gone down as well over the past few days, a senior state transport official said.

A spokesman of the Joint Council of Bus Syndicate said around 40 per cent of the private buses have stopped plying but still, the rest are seeing a low passenger count most of the time. An 18-year-old man, who returned from England on March 15, tested positive for the virus on Tuesday, making it the first confirmed case in the state.



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