Some people have raised questions on the effectiveness of the ‘complete town-wide’ lockdown, which began in all the Wards in the Siliguri Municipal Corporation yesterday in the administration’s bid to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The administration, however, decided to exempt markets dealing in essential commodities, especially the Naya Bazaar wholesale market at Khalpara. Significantly, associations today finally decided to shut the market after locals yesterday protested the decision to keep it open.

Local people expressed unhappiness over the traffic snarl and mismanagement, which they said broke all social and physical distancing norms.

“The decision to bring Siliguri under lockdown will not be effective if the administration keeps the market open for essential commodities at Naya Bazaar,” a senior leader of the BJP, Sabita Agarwal, specifically pointed out today.

Citing examples, Ms Agarwal further said: “There was no system during the lockdown imposed the first time. Workers, who are engaged in loading and unloading jobs at Naya Bazaar, come from different areas like Wards 4 and 5. If they come and go and do not maintain health protocols, can we expect any effective result from the second lockdown?”

Asked to comment on the matter, Vice Chairman of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), North Bengal Zonal Council, Sanjay Tibrewal said: “We are happy with the decision of the associations at Naya Bazaar wholesale market. The retail trade will be closed till Wednesday, considering the requests and understanding the public sentiments. However, there will be no shortage of essential commodities.”