Now, curfew relaxation in Ludhiana till 3pm
With the district witnessing a dive in the number of Covid cases and positivity rate over the last two weeks, the administration on Wednesday extended the curfew relaxation timings till 3pm on weekdays.
In a major relief to the business community, which had been clamouring for relaxation in timings, all shops can now operate from 5am to 3pm, an extension of two hours. The permitted hours for home delivery of cooked food have also been increased till 9pm. The weekend curfew will remain in place.
In his weekly Facebook live session, deputy commissioner Varinder Kumar Sharma said Ludhiana has been witnessing a slight respite in cases for the last two weeks after hitting an extraordinary scale amid the second wave of the pandemic in mid-April and May. He said the Ludhiana administration will be honouring health workers and officers of all departments that have been performing their Covid duties tirelessly.
Traders had met DC earlier in the day
Earlier in the day, a delegation of the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal had met Sharma and demanded that shops be allowed to remain open till 5pm. The meeting had been facilitated by MLA Rakesh Pandey, to whom the traders’ association had submitted a memorandum after staging an agitation on May 24.
Citing losses due to the imposition of a 16-hour daily curfew and weekend lockdown, traders said they will be forced to raise an agitation and hand over their shops to the government unless the curfew relaxation period was extended till 5pm next month.
Though the extension of timings have been welcomed, traders want further relaxation citing the low footfall during the relaxation hours in the morning and afternoon.
Beopar Mandal general secretary Sunil Mehra said, “Shopkeepers are struggling to pay rent, power bills and salaries as marginal sales are made between 5am and 1pm. Shops should be allowed to stay open till 5pm from next month as is being done in other districts of the state.”
A garment store owner in Model Town market, Ashu Grover, said, “The decision to allow the shops to remain open till 3pm will certainly increase the footfall in the market. It is not possible to keep running businesses without profits. The move will also reduce chaos and traffic jams witnessed around 1pm as the curfew hour approaches.”
On May 7, the administration had first imposed a 17-hour curfew from 12pm to 5am, which was relaxed by an hour on May 24.