Heavy rush of shoppers in violation of social distancing norms at Chandni Chowk market in New Delhi(Sanchit Khanna/ Hindustan Times)
Heavy rush of shoppers in violation of social distancing norms at Chandni Chowk market in New Delhi(Sanchit Khanna/ Hindustan Times)

‘Crowds beyond shops not in our control’: Delhi traders’ bodies on overcrowding

  • The traders’ bodies reaction comes in response to the Delhi high court taking cognizance of the violation of Covid-19 protocols across Delhi’s markets.
By hindustantimes.com | Written by Shankhyaneel Sarkar | Edited by Avik Roy, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUN 22, 2021 10:19 PM IST

Delhi’s traders bodies on Tuesday pointed out that responsibility of social distancing and enforcing coronavirus disease (Covid-19) preventative measures at markets lies with the administration not with the shopkeepers. The traders’ bodies of Delhi’s markets said it is not possible for them to control crowds outside their shops and the onus lies with the administration.

The traders’ bodies reaction comes in response to the Delhi high court taking cognizance of the violation of Covid-19 protocols across Delhi’s markets. The court also said that such breaches will only hasten the probable third wave of Covid-19. The court directed the Centre, the Delhi government and administrators to take strict measures in enforcing the measures. It had also asked them to meet with markets and vendor associations in this regard.

Following the gradual reopening of the national capital, Delhites were seen thronging markets, malls and restaurants, which were closed following the rise in deaths due to Covid-19 in the city. Markets can now open fully between 10am to 8pm.

Brijesh Goyal, chairman of the chamber of trade and industry, said that as far as crowds inside shops are concerned that comes under the ambit of the shopkeeper but crowds outside the shop in the common areas of the markets lie with the administration. He said traders can only ensure compliance inside their shops, godowns or offices.

“It is the administration and the police who have to ensure that the protocols are followed in streets and other public spaces,” Goyal was quoted as saying by news agency PTI urging the authorities to hold meetings with market associations to find ways of crowd control. He said the issue is limited to a few markets out of the 950 major markets of Delhi.

“Our only aim is to have some customers every day. We make sure that not more than three customers are inside a shop at a time and five if it is a big shop. If we have to manage the crowd outside as well, who will manage the shop?” Ashok Randhawa, president of the Sarojini Nagar Mini Market Traders' Association asked. Randhawa said that it will impact the business of shopkeepers if they ask shoppers in groups to step outside. He said this job is better suited for police or civil defence volunteers.

Sanjay Bhargava, president of the Chandni Chowk Sarv Vyapar Mandal, pointed out that presence of police and civil defence volunteers would make visitors more likely to be more mindful of their conduct. He also said that ‘drastic precautions’ should be taken till the wedding season begins. He said that markets can also follow an odd-even system so that the crowds can be controlled till August 15.

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