People in villages apparently have a special immune system that protects them from COVID-19. Their special shield is neither a mask nor a sanitizer but Waheguru, the Sikh God.
Ludhiana: A week after the weekly vegetable mandis (markets) started operating, people hardly showed any concerns for the prevalent pandemic. The number of cases being reported in the city is estimated to be under 100 per day, which is an improvement. But, experts say that this is no cause for carelessness.
In a vegetable market that operates every Wednesday and Friday in Dugri, a lot of people were spotted without masks. Not just customers, most of the vendors were also without masks. Some had their masks hanging down their necks; some didn’t bother to wear them at all.
Anita Devi, a local vegetable vendor said “This is a disease only prevailing in cities. Masks and sanitizers are all chochla (fuss) of big cities. We haven’t seen a single sick person in our pind (village). We roam around, eat everything and nobody falls sick there. So we don’t feel the need to wear masks.” She added “We have the hand of Waheguru on us. We won’t get affected by all this. He will save us from everything.”
The weekly vegetable market started operating after almost eight months. Vegetables were available throughout the lockdown and during unlock as well but only through some vegetable vendors. These weekly markets would have attracted crowds, leading to more chances of infection.
Ramlal (67) a fruit vendor said “We have to shout and scream to attract the customers. The mask restricts my voice from reaching the customers so I have to pull it down while shouting and selling vegetables. The lockdown has already led to a lot of losses and now that the market is finally operating, I want to make up for them as much as possible.”
Priyanka Sharma, a city resident who visited the mandi for green grocery shopping said, “I forgot to bring my mask along. I usually wear it while stepping out; I just forgot to wear it today since I was in a rush. I am covering my mouth with my dupatta while talking to the vendors though.”
Dr. Rahul Madaan, clinical cardiologist said “People have developed a casual approach towards the virus. Considering the festive season around the corner, people should instead be more cautious while stepping out of their places.”
“Washing hands, sanitizing, wearing masks and maintaining distance by now should have been a habit for people. This is simply a myth that this virus exists in cities and not villages. People are anyway at a risk if they don’t follow the safety measures and protocols, irrespective of where they live,” he added.
“There will be regular and proper checking in the markets. We will ensure that everyone maintains social distancing and masks are worn. If anyone is found disobeying the protocol, fines and punishments as stated by the government will be imposed.” said Neeraj Jain, Zonal Commissioner (Nagar Nigam).