Rush seen in Pindi markets, bus terminals on eve of lockdown

Published May 8, 2021
In this file photo, a large number of people throng Rawalpindi’s Bara Market. — Photo by Mohammad Asim
In this file photo, a large number of people throng Rawalpindi’s Bara Market. — Photo by Mohammad Asim

RAWALPINDI: As the government has decided to close business activities from May 8 to 16, people thronged bazaars for Eid shopping on Friday. Moreover, bus terminals were also crowded as many people left for their hometowns to celebrate the Eid before the ban on public transport starts on Saturday.

“All bazaars and shopping malls will remain closed from May 8 to 16 and we will strictly implement it,” Deputy Commissioner Anwarul Haq told Dawn.

However, he said transporters arriving in the city on Friday would be allowed to go back to their home districts on Saturday. He said there was a need to adopt safety measures during the Eid holidays to check the spread of Covid-19.

On the other hand, traders opposed the government’s decision of lockdown and said it would destroy the economy and create unemployment for the daily-wage workers such as salesmen and labourers.

Rawalpindi Traders Association President Sharjeel Mir said the government’s decision would destroy businesses. He said closure of bazaars and markets would create financial crisis for salesmen and labourers.

Meanwhile, no rush was seen at the railway stations compared to last year. The government has announced Eid holidays from Saturday (today) and mostly people started going to their hometowns on Friday.

Pakistan Railways Divisional Superintendent Inamullah told Dawn that the railways authorities had made arrangements for passengers but this year there was no rush in the trains.

He said in the Rawalpindi division, no special train had been launched as regular trains managed to cater to the travellers. He said extra coaches would be attached with five trains to Lahore and Multan and Quetta, if required.

The railways also made arrangements to bring back the passengers after Eid. He said rush would be witnessed on trains when passengers would start returning after Eid.

At the bus terminals in Pirwadhai, Soan, Faizabad and Pirwadhai Mor, there was rush of people travelling to different areas. The travellers complained of overcharging.

Though the district administration has directed the Regional Transport Authority to take action against overcharging, people were seen complaining about extra fares being charged by transporters.

“I paid more for three seats in a bus to Jhang for my family,” said Sahil Hussain, a passenger, at Pirwadhai.

“There is shortage of buses and the transporters forced people to share seats with other passengers even after paying full fares,” said Mohammad khan, who was going to Jhang.

RTA officials said there was rush on bus terminals due to the lockdown from Saturday. The authority has deployed special squads at Pirwadhai and Pirwadhai Mor to check overcharging, they added.

Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2021

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