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Vehicles return to Hyd roads after easing of lockdown

Vehicles return to Hyd roads after easing of lockdown

With relaxations in lockdown norms, the city roads witnessed more vehicles on Saturday, nearly 45 days after curbs were imposed to check spread of coronavirus.

Traffic-jam like situation emerged at a few places as the police restored traffic signals and re-opened some flyovers to tackle high volume of traffic.

Though the police at various points continued to check those stepping out with a valid reason, the number of vehicles on roads has risen in the past two days as certain activities were permitted.

While re-opening of liquor shops on Wednesday marked the activity other than sale of essentials, some hustle bustle returned on Friday with the authorities allowing more relaxations.

As the construction activity was allowed, hardware, steel, cement, electrical and other shops supplying material for the sector were permitted to open. The information technology (IT) firms were allowed to resume operations with 33 per cent employees.

Though some IT firms are availing this relaxation, the majority prefers work from home for their employees.

The Regional Transport Authority (RTA) has resumed services. All 56 services of the department are available with users being able to book slots for various transactions.

More vehicles were seen plying in areas, like Panjagutta, Banjara Hills, Masab Tank, Ameerpet, Kukatpally, Secunderabad, Abids, Koti, Khariatabad, Begumpet and L.B. Nagar.

The traffic police, however, said they had not slackened rules. "We are not allowing those who just want to roam around. People with medical emergencies and other valid reasons are being permitted," said a police officer in Banjara Hills.

The police continue to book people violating rules, like pillion riding on two-wheelers and more than two persons in a four-wheeler.

The police re-started some traffic signals, closed since the beginning of lockdown on March 22, to facilitate smooth flow. Similarly some flyovers, which were also sealed, were also re-opened.

However, the resumption of activities sparked fears among a section of people that it could cause more Covid-19 infections as Hyderabad was under red zone. But the government dismissed the fears saying it continued to enforce the lockdown in the red zone, while giving certain relaxations announced by the Centre.

"Lockdown in Hyderabad watered down. Heavy vehicular traffic on Hyderabad roads," tweeted BJP leader N. Ramchander Rao while tagging Union Ministers J.P. Nadda, Nitin Gadkari and others.

"Hyderabad is a red zone, but it doesn't mean the entire city is that. The city has 30 circles and no cases were reported from 22," said Health Minister Eatala Rajender when asked about high volume of traffic in certain areas.

On May 5, the state government decided to extend lockdown till May 29. Announcing the extension, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao had said there would be no easing in the red zone, barring re-opening of liquor shops and resumption of construction works.

The Chief Minister said he would review the situation on May 15 and depending on that a decision on relaxations in red zone districts would be taken. The state government is implementing all guidelines issued by the Centre on lockdown relaxations in green and orange zone districts.

Telangana has reported 1,132 Covid-19 cases, more than 50 per cent of it were reported from Hyderabad and its suburbs.

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