Sisodia urges Shah to let hotels, weekly markets reopen in Delhi
Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Saturday urged Union home minister Amit Shah to allow hotels and weekly markets to reopen in the national Capital and accordingly issue directions to lieutenant-governor Anil Baijal, the government said.
A day earlier, Baijal had rejected the Delhi government’s decision to allow hotels and weekly markets to reopen in the capital, saying the Covid-19 situation continued to be “fragile” in Delhi and the threat was still “far from over”.
In a letter written in Hindi, the deputy chief minister said the Delhi government would again send its proposal on reopening of hotels and weekly markets to the lieutenant-governor on Tuesday.
“I request you to reconsider your decision and direct the L-G to approve the proposal. If traders start their business, jobs will be generated, and that the condition of economy will improve,” Sisodia, who also holds the finance portfolio, wrote in the letter.
There was no immediate from the Union home ministry to HT’s requests for comment.
On Thursday, the Delhi government decided to allow hotels, hospitality services, street hawkers to operate and did away with the night curfew hours applicable between 10pm and 5am under the Centre’s Unlock 3 plan.
The government intended to allow weekly bazars to operate for a week on a trial basis to check if social distancing norms were being followed.
An official order regarding the same was to come by Saturday. But the LG rejected the proposal on Friday, saying that Delhi still needs to hold on to a cautious and conservative approach in controlling the pandemic.
The L-G’s office did not respond to HT’s query for a fresh comment on the matter.
Sisodia, in his letter, said the Centre is showing “double standards” towards Delhi at a time when the entire country is following the Centre’s unlockdown rules and efforts are being made to resume economic activities.
He said at a time when Delhi’s controlled Covid-19 cases and the situation started to stabilise, it is not being allowed to resume economic activities while states such as Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, which are seeing a surge in cases, are being allowed to operate hotels and weekly markets.
He wrote that 8% of Delhi’s business and employment has been hit due to the coronavirus disease outbreak.
“Due to the closure of weekly markets, five lakh families are sitting at home. Now when they are hopeful that with control over coronavirus in Delhi, they will get an opportunity to restart their business, binding them under the decision of closure is unfair to Delhi’s economic situation and hopes of lakhs of people…If traders start their business, jobs will be generated, and that the economy will improve,” he said.
The Delhi hotel and restaurant owners’ association said nearly 4 lakh people are associated with the industry in Delhi. “Hotel owners have not been able to meet their domestic expenses due to the closure since March 15...We demand the Centre and the Delhi government to waive off 80% tax on electricity bills, and provide rebate in house tax and water bills. We urge them to simplify the process of getting a fire NOC and police licence,” the association said on Saturday.