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Amid stir, Maharashtra may relax curbs for some sectors

After protests by retailers, traders and other sectors to the partial lockdown, the state is expected to tweak its standard operating procedures (SOPs), giving relaxations to a few sectors in the next few days
PUBLISHED ON APR 08, 2021 01:30 AM IST

After protests by retailers, traders and other sectors to the partial lockdown, the state is expected to tweak its standard operating procedures (SOPs), giving relaxations to a few sectors in the next few days. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray during his meeting with them hinted at the relaxations.

Two days after the partial lockdown was imposed, traders and shopkeepers took to the streets, protesting against the lockdown, as confusion and ambiguities over the guidelines led to chaos in the past two days. Thackeray later held meetings with the organisations representing retailers, traders and bodies representing chartered accountants and company secretaries on Wednesday. Chief secretary Sitaram Kunte held a video conference with all district collectors and civic commissioners to clarify about the confusion.

Thackeray has assured the retailers he would reconsider the decision of shutting shops and offices in the next two days. “The restrictions imposed are out of compulsion amid the second wave. Not only traders and business, even the state is facing losses to the exchequer. We will definitely reconsider the decision and offer some relaxation after a due deliberation with task force, police administration and other departments,” he said.

Thackeray also warned retailers and traders to ensure the guidelines are followed. “If there are 1.5 million workers employed in the shops and establishments in Mumbai, their mobilisation leads to the risk of spread of the virus. Similarly, the movement of people engaged in other sectors will also lead to crowding,” he said.

The associations representing traders told the CM that the sentiments of their members are extreme. “We pointed at the contradiction in the decision of lockdown as hawkers are allowed, while shopkeepers have to stay shut; industries are open but raw material vendors are shut. We are ready to keep the shops open in staggered timings and on limited days,” said Mohan Gurnani, chairman, Chamber of Associations of Maharashtra Industry and Trade.

Thackeray also held a meeting with representatives of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and Institute of Company Secretaries of India and told them to submit an SOP that will help in the maintaining staggered timings and encouraging culture of work from home.

Kunte took stock of the situation in various districts. Leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis, who held meetings with some of the trade bodies, too had demanded to revisit the decision of the partial lockdown as it has badly hit the economy.

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