Confusion over timings prevails on Day 1 of relaxation in Ludhiana
Shopkeepers say they closed shops before 11am as they did not have clarity on timings, at some places, residents were seen coming in their vehicles, defying the curfew normsUpdated: Apr 30, 2020 22:32 IST
A day after chief minister Amarinder Singh announced a four-hour relaxation in the state, shops selling essential commodities in the city opened on Thursday amid confusion over the timings.
As the decision on timings (7am to 11am) was taken late in the evening on Wednesday, most shopkeepers remained clueless about it and brought their shutters down before 11am for fear of action by authorities. There was also confusion as to whether they can continue doorstep delivery after 11am.
Residents, on the other hand, were seen openly flouting the curfew norms by turning up in their vehicles even as the administration had only permitted them to walk to their nearby shops. However, in a relief to the administration, most residents stayed home as essential supplies, including groceries and medicines, are readily available at doorsteps.
At Model House, Jawahar Nagar camp and Field Ganj, shopkeepers were seen barring customers from entering the shops in a bid to ensure proper social distancing. Supplies were being handed over to the customers outside the shop only.
Deepak Chawla, a grocery shop owner, said, he opened the shop on Thursday morning but closed it before 11 am as there was confusion about the time till which counter sales are allowed.
President of the Punjab Chapter of Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), Harkesh Mittal said kirana wholesalers are facing harassment at the hands of administration due to the confusion over timings. “There is no proper communication from the administration due to which many wholesalers reached their shops on Thursday morning only to be asked by the police to return.”
Mittal said that CAIT has been demanding an economic package from the government for a long time but to no avail.
RESIDENTS GIVE MIXED RESPONSE
Stuck inside their homes since March 22, residents gave a mixed response to the relaxations given by the administration. While a few claim that it has come as a relief, others believe that this may spread the disease.
Gurminder Singh, a resident of Model Town extension, said, “The relaxation has come as a relief for residents, especially those who were in need of medicines as many store owners had not been ensuring regular supply amid the curfew.”
Sajan, a resident of Model House,however, said the administration should not have allowed residents to move out as essential commodities are already available at their doorsteps.
‘WOULD NOT OPEN COUNTER SALES’
Meanwhile, Balwant Rai, president of the Ludhiana departmental store association, said the body has decided to not start counter sales and only carry out doorstep delivery for the time being so as to not risk the spread of the virus. There are 27 major departmental stores in the city, all of which remained closed on Thursday, he added.
Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal president Arvinder Singh Makkar said this relaxation is of no use as so far the supply chain has not been restored due to which retailers are facing issues in sourcing the supplies from wholesalers, who in turn are struggling for supply from manufacturers.
SENIOR CITIZENS FACE TROUBLES DUE TO BAN ON VEHICLE COMMUTE
The administration’s decision to allow residents only to walk to their nearby shops came as an inconvenience to senior citizens who faced troubles in reaching their destination. Manjeet Kaur, 75, a resident of Ghumar Mandi, said she had to visit her doctor in Feroze Gandhi market, almost 2 km away and had to walk the entire distance as vehicles were not allowed.
Deputy commissioner Pradeep Agrawal said that residents were seen moving on city roads even after 11 am on Thursday but from now on, strict would be taken against such violators. Agrawal said that shops selling essential commodities, the owners of which have already got passes for home delivery, have been allowed to do counter sales from 7am and 11am. Residents can commute only on foot during the relaxation period (7am to11am).
Shopkeepers can carry out doorstep delivery from 11am to 7pm but no counter sale would be allowed after 11 am. Wholesale shops can open after 11 am and operate till 7pm.