Pune traders seek clarity on reopening of shops, says Fatehchand Ranka
Fatehchand Ranka is the president of the Federation of Trade Association Pune.Updated: May 20, 2020 17:27 IST
Pune: The lockdown has left shopkeepers in Pune with an estimated loss of at least Rs one crore business, said Fatehchand Ranka, president of the Federation of Trade Association Pune. Ranka shares the steps taken to resume operations and following safety precautions.
How are traders and businesses holding up?
Ever since the lockdown, 30,000 traders in Pune have been badly affected. We have followed every rule announced by the authorities and even shut shops when required during the lockdown, but now patience is running out amid apprehension among traders of survival of their businesses.
How badly has the business being affected?
In the past three months, we have borne losses estimated to be about Rs one crore. There are several shops which are on rental basis. If the rent is not paid, they will lose the shop, leaving them no choice but to opt out of business.
What kind of expectations do you have from the state and municipal corporation?
We have entered phase 4 of the lockdown and the state government has been talking of relaxations, but nothing is clear about it nor have they intimated to us whether we can open our businesses. All they have allowed is for smaller shops of essential goods and those of electrical, electronics, furniture and essential clothing to open in non-containment zones, but it seems there is miscommunication between the local authorities for the police do not allow us to reach our shops to open for business.
Are the shops ready for business?
Yes, we are ready. We have already kept our staff on standby, given them training on how to work with gloves, masks and also have teams ready to sanitize shops. For those visiting shops, we have kept gloves and masks ready. And we will maintain social distancing and follow all the guidelines given by the government.
Problems expected if shops are open
The shops being shut for three months is bad enough, but what we foresee as a problem is getting goods from manufacturing units. With many of the migratory labour gone home, there are hardly any skilled labour left to work on new products. It will be a problem if there is a heavy demand for new designs and products.