‘No mask, no vegetables’: Tripura market teaches customers Covid-19 precautions

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In an effort to ensure social distancing and proper public hygiene during the COVID-19 lockdown, traders at Maharajganj Bazaar, Tripura’s largest market, put up boards saying ‘No Mask, No Vegetables’ on Wednesday.

They said the decision to deny veggies and other commodities to anyone not wearing a mask was taken after customers were seen crowding the market with no precautions, despite repeated appeals from government authorities.

Speaking to reporters, Nakul Das, a leader of Maharajganj Bazaar Sabzee Byebsayi Samiti, said the decision was taken to enforce precautions and use of protective gear among customers, who often don’t adhere to the rules and regulations set by the government.

“We have decided we shall not sell vegetables to anyone who doesn’t wear masks while coming to the market. The coronavirus pandemic has spread across the world. Social distancing is the only way to keep ourselves safe. So, we are trying to get our customers to follow it,” Das told reporters.

Biswajit Saha, another vegetable vendor at the market, said he has already refused his products to some customers who didn’t come with a mask, but the practice isn’t viable for long if other traders entertain them.

Hence, he said, the market association has decided to have all its members put up similar placards.

Many other markets of Agartala, like Battala, are planning to follow suit.

The traders have also asked customers to maintain social distancing and stand at least 1 meter apart from each other.
Police and TSR personnel have been deployed in all marketplaces of the state to prevent crowding. They maintain a queue and allow people to enter the markets only at regular intervals. However, those who enter are often found loitering in the market, standing close to each other, and defying social distancing norms.

Earlier in March, Tripura shifted many of its markets to large fields and sports grounds to ensure social distancing.

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