Commuters hit the roads and crowds thronged shopping malls and transport hubs as COVID-19 restrictions began to be eased in Bengaluru on Tuesday.
There were gridlocks in several parts of the city and bus and railway stations were crowded, leading to concerns that infections could once again swamp the city, which is only now recovering from a devastating second wave.
There was a massive traffic jam on Old Airport Road, which connects central Bengaluru to the IT corridors of Whitefield and Outer Ring Road.
The situation was chaotic at Majestic, Yeshwantpur and Mysuru Road Satellite Station, according to reports. Thousands of inbound traveller emerged from KSR Bengaluru railway station, only to find very little public transport.
Vegetable markets, grocery stores and shops selling essentials, which have been allowed to remain open till 2pm, saw long queues. The city’s parks also opened, with Lalbagh and Cubbon Park reporting thousands of early morning walkers.
“Unfortunately, citizens equate the government’s response to reopening as a victory,” Dr Vishal Rao, a member of the expert committee on Karnataka’s COVID task force, told Reuters news agency.
“Our ability to stay focussed and disciplined will ensure cases do not rise again. Stay safe. Get tested if you experience any COVID symptoms. Avoid public gatherings. Follow COVID-appropriate behaviour. Take the vaccine when it’s your turn,” Gaurav Gupta, the chief commissioner of BBMP, the city’s civic body, said in a Twitter post.