Besides causing inconvenience to shoppers and affecting the livelihood of daily-wage earners, the 72-hour bandh by city traders is causing a daily loss of over Rs 200 crore to the exchequer.
Chairman of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) Ankur Bhatia said the three-day bandh will have a laggard effect on Delhi's economy. The CII issued an appeal to all stakeholders to resolve the issue in an amicable manner.
"We urge the government to come out with Delhi Master Plan 2021 at the earliest. The new Master Plan must give clear and balanced norms for land-use keeping in mind the future requirements of the city and its citizens, including the trading community and the service sector," said Bhatia.
Sunil Sehgal, secretary (Delhi) of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said such frequent bandh calls by traders do not bode well for the city's economy. "Frequent shutdown by traders should not be encouraged. The government should take a strong stand on the matter," he said.
Sehgal criticised traders for holding the city's economy to ransom in support of 48,000 traders who had filed affidavits giving an undertaking to close their shops by June 30.
As per a Supreme Court directive, these traders were to be the first to face the sealing squads. "The 48,000 traders do not govern the city's economy. The government should ensure the law prevails," he said.
However, on the issue of heavy losses to the exchequer by the bandh, Sehgal said it should be viewed as deferred business. "If a person needs to purchase some medicine, he may not be able to do so because the shops are closed because of the bandh. But he would definitely make the purchase when the shops re-open. However, in some cases (like a newspaper not being sold on the day it is printed), it is business lost," he said.
DS Rawat, Secretary General of ASSOCHAM, pegged the daily loss by the government exchequer at Rs 200 crore.
However, Rawat said that the government should take a humane view of the problem of the traders. "Nearly 50,000-60,000 commercial establishments would be affected by the sealing drive (slated to resume from November 2). Even if by conservative estimates, we assume that there are 10 employees attached to each shop, we should see the level of unemployment it would generate if all these people are rendered jobless," said Rawat.