Confusion and chaos prevailed in the town as people started pouring in when the authorities relaxed the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions on Monday. Although the government had issued guidelines about the controlled relaxation in the district, which was declared an orange zone, people in general were confused and desperate.
The declaration of Palakkad Municipality and places like Karakurissi, Kottopadam and Kanhirapuzha as red zones did not have any impact as people started coming to the town from all sides. The district administration had to virtually close the town by afternoon to control the movement of vehicles, leaving only two entry points.
Vehicles coming from Olavakode, Malampuzha, Puthur, Kalpathy, Kallepully and Chittur were given entry into the town only through Kalmandapam. Vehicles coming from Kallekkad, Kodunthirapully, Pudoor and Tirunellai were given entry only through Meparamba.
The closure of roads made it difficult for ambulances and other emergency vehicles. Although there were restrictions on the functioning of shops in the town, many functioned without caring for the guidelines. Banks and government offices functioned normally, but with minimal attendance.
The police had a tough time restricting the people misusing the relaxation given to them.
Many reached the town with the thought that the lockdown was over. “I thought it was over in Palakkad. I came to the town to go to the bank in connection with my agricultural loan, but got stuck in traffic,” said Manoj Kumar from Kinassery.
The police said people would not be allowed to travel without pressing reasons from Tuesday. They said checking would be tightened.
One third of the companies in Kanjikode industrial sector functioned on Monday. Several of them were engaged in cleaning work. Steel industries did not function as they did not get the raw materials.
In other towns like Mannarkkad and Ottapalam too, people crowded the streets violating the restrictions. There was rush in Mannarkkad town as people did not care for the police guideline.