VIJAYAWADA: All activities, barring emergencies and essential services, came to a halt in Andhra Pradesh after an 18-hour long curfew imposed — from 12 noon to 6 am per day — from Wednesday.
APSRTC suspended all its bus services while shops, malls, business establishments and transportation activities ceased during the curfew period. The police did not allow vehicles into AP along the borders and were allowing only emergency/ essential services and travel for medical treatment and such purposes.
People were seen thronging the markets to purchase essentials in the morning hours. The curfew is adversely impacting the working classes including petty traders, daily wage workers, fruit vendors as also pushcart sellers apart from hotels, who are all forced to close their activities by noon.
Shops in the busy market places were closed by noon and the busy roads wore a deserted look. A majority of the people were confined to their homes due to the strict curfew norms.
The continuous plying of auto-rickshaws has stopped for the duration of the curfew and only a few auto-rickshaws and taxis were permitted by cops during this period.
Restrictions were imposed on vehicles moving between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana States during the curfew term. The main inter-state check posts connecting Telangana State were closed at Ramapuram (Kodad), Pondugula (Vadapalli) and Nagarjuna Sagar (towards Macherla) and exemption was given only to emergency services.
The vehicles which came to the borders in the afternoon hours were not allowed in and only those carrying essentials and medical emergencies were seen through.
People coming to AP for checkups in hospitals, with proper documents, were allowed and those who were coming on bikes without medical emergency after mid-day were stopped at the check posts.
The cops at Garikapadu and Pondugula inter-state check posts asked people not to come in during curfew time.
The public transport services were suspended by APSRTC and private operators and only limited transport services were operated from 6am to noon due to the curfew. The biggest bus-stand, the Pandit Nehru bus station in Vijayawada, the NTR bus station in Guntur and the others in the rest of the 11 districts wore a deserted look.
All bus services to Telangana including to Hyderabad, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka were suspended.
APSRTC operations director KS Brahmananda Reddy said it operated only 2,000 services out of the regular 10,000. Long-distance and inter-state services were cancelled. The target revenue generation during the normal day was Rs13 crore, which has fallen to Rs6 crore as a result of the 50 per cent occupancy norm and other Covid restrictions.
He said a revenue of only Rs1 crore is expected with the operation of a nominal 2,000 services.
Relaxation was given to passengers on the way to airports and railway stations, who showed their tickets during the curfew times to reach their destinations.
Exemption has also been given from curfew regulations to industries, agriculture and allied sectors as also for public and private hospitals, doctors and other emergency staff. They would carry their identity card while travelling.
Section 144 was in force at Telangana-AP border check posts.
AP lorry owners association state secretary YV Eswar Rao said they have given a representation to the government seeking permission for lorries to carry essential commodities during curfew period and the government has accepted the plea.