Covid-19: Delhi traders demand opening of markets in phased manner
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Saturday demanded reopening of shops and markets by following the same yardstick applied for resumption of construction activities and factories on a day Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal assured unlocking more activities in the coming days.
The traders' body said it will approach Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and the chief minister to review the decision.
Kejriwal had on Friday said the process of lifting the lockdown gradually in the capital will begin from Monday, starting with resumption of construction activities and reopening of factories for a week.
"The yardstick applied for the opening of construction activities and factories could be applied more judiciously for opening the markets and particularly when the trade associations all over Delhi are more inclined to extend full support of the government," Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general CAIT, said in a statement.
On Saturday, the chief minister noted the national capital recorded around 900 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, and said if new infections continue to decline, more activities will be allowed to open up in the city.
Addressing the traders' concerns on Saturday, the chief minister said when the situation will ease, everything will be opened up.
"I can understand the troubles of the traders and I can understand their anxiety. I read in the newspapers that they are a bit upset. I want to tell them that it was with great difficulty that we were able to control the situation by imposing a lockdown.
"I can understand their difficulty but they should be patient and should not rush. We also want their markets and shops to open up and as and when the situation comes under control, we will open up everything," he said.
The group of traders held a virtual meeting where they suggested reopening of shops and markets "in a phased manner while segregating the working time for different verticals of Delhi trade".
"The business of Delhi has been completely derailed, how will that business be restored when there is acute financial crunch," Khandelwal said.
He suggested that business activities can be restored in a manner which "may certainly curb any more spreading of coronavirus".
"Working hours can be reduced, Delhi can be divided into different zones, night curfew can be imposed, weekend lockdowns and several other options can be considered but the fundamental is to have a will to open the shops and markets," he added.