Chennai, May 23 : With a more strict week-long lockdown set to be implemented from Monday, several parts of Tamil Nadu on Sunday witnessed panic buying with people thronging shops and markets selling provisions and meat.
Police had to file cases and even undertake baton charges to disperse the people entering shops and establishments without properly wearing masks, and not maintaining social distance.
As many as 300 cases were registered against people in Nilgiris district for not following Covid protocols.
Police and revenue authorities found it hard to manage the huge crowds in several places of Udhagamandalam as they thronged markets to buy provisions and other essentials.
Retired school headmaster Balamurali said: "I had come to the nearby shop to buy provisions for a week and to some vegetables as there is nothing left at home for me and my family consisting of my wife and daughter.
I am worried over the huge rush seen here and I think the government should have allowed provision shops to function for a specific time each day so that people can come and buy."
A similar situation was witnessed at Kanyakumari district with people thronging meat shops and other stores to buy things.
"I have come to the market to buy some meat and rice. I needed more provisions but the heavy rush was unbearable and I came back home. The government must have allowed small and nearby shops to function as well as meat and fish shops for some time daily.
People are thronging the market and I don't know whether I will catch the disease or not," Kaliamma, 58, told IANS.
In Madurai, Salem, and Erode, similar situations were reported with police chasing away people near a meat market in Madurai.
"I had come to buy some meat and vegetables as I had brought rice and other provisions a couple of days before.
However I found that people are not at all wearing masks properly as well as not maintaining social distance.
This is a sad sight and we are unnecessarily creating trouble. Police have to resort to caning here to disperse the crowd who were thronging at the meat market, retired government employee Joseph Thomas told IANS from Madurai.
With the state going for a one week total lockdown, people are not clear whether the lockdown will be extended and whether provisions and food will be available and hence the panic.
Anju Ashok, a research scholar in Delhi who is now holidaying at her home in Nagercoil, told IANS: "There is no proper awareness among the people even though more than a year has passed since the virus came to the country.
Unless we are not serious in listening to what the government and authorities say, there will not be any progress here."