On Thursday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee paid a surprise visit to several markets in Kolkata in order to understand first-hand the issues being faced by local shops and vendors and to assure people that essential services will be available despite the 21 days lockdown due to coronavirus outbreak.
In Bengal, Banerjee has been leading from the front in her state's response and overseeing preparedness to contain the novel coronavirus.
This week, she did what no Chief Minister has done so far - she stepped out into the streets of Kolkata and interacted with local store owners and vendors, assured them that supply of essential goods will continue and they should keep their shops open. She also explained the concept of social distancing to them.
Banerjee visited numerous markets in the city, starting from the well-known Posta Bazaar and then to Burrabazar, Taltala and other places. She toured several retail spots in South Kolkata as well.
In videos and photos that have gone viral, Banerjee can be seen drawing circles on the streets in front of shops with a brick, showing vendors how they should maintain distance between customers.
In another video, Mamata Banerjee can be seen telling vendors, "If you don't keep shops open, what will people eat?"
The vendors can be heard explaining that they've been experiencing a shortfall in supply. However, Banerjee tells them that new orders will be rolled out in a few hours and that the supply chain of essential goods won't be hindered.
That's not all. Earlier this week, Mamata Banerjee also visited several hospitals in the city and interacted with unit chiefs and handed over protective gear.