By Sandun A. Jayasekera
Civilian life as well as public and private sector establishments crawled back to normalcy yesterday with the lifting of curfew for 15 hours from 05:00 a.m. to 08:00 p.m. in 23 districts for a limited number of employees to report for work.
Initially, the government was to lift curfew only in 21 districts except the Western Province and the Puttalam District but later decided to relax curfew in Kalutara and Puttalam Districts too. Daily Mirror correspondents said there were slight disruptions in several areas including Kandy, Ratnapura, Nuwara Eliya and Galle as there were no SLTB buses for passengers to travel to their workplaces since private bus operators did not operate.
Meanwhile, Railways General Manager M.J.D. Fernando said only 10 trains left the Colombo Fort and Maradana railway stations yesterday as opposed 140 in a normal day. He said less than 2,000 commuters used trains but the SLR expected to bring some 2,800 employees to Colombo.
Almost all public sector establishments reopened yesterday. These include the Inland Revenue Department, Attorney General’s Department, Colombo Stock Exchange, Motor Traffic Department, all ministry and departmental offices, retail and wholesale trading places, dedicates economic centres, the manning market and Dematagoda fish market. At the Colombo Fort railway station, security officers were seen checking the body temperature of passengers in addition to cameras that had been fixed for the same purpose at strategic locations in the station.
Curfew was reimposed at 08:00 p.m. yesterday while it remained round the clock in Colombo and Gampaha. Curfew was to be lifted again in the 23 districts at 05:00 a.m. today to be reimposed at 08:00 p.m. the same day.
Meanwhile, 729 curfew violators were nabbed with 206 vehicles during the 24 hours that ended at 06:00 a.m. yesterday. A total of 51,552 individuals have been arrested and 13,350 vehicles seized since March 20 for violating curfew regulations.