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Sunday shutters for Gurgaon malls

Mall managers protest as footfall at the malls on weekends reach 25-35,000 while it remains around 10,000 on weekdays, writes Sanjeev K Ahuja.
None | By Sanjeev K Ahuja, Gurgaon
UPDATED ON MAR 24, 2006 02:32 AM IST

Sunday at the malls in Gurgaon could well be history soon. The district's deputy commissioner has asked all the mall managers in Gurgaon to down shutters on Sundays.

Trashing earlier reports of Haryana Tourism allowing malls to open 24X7 to promote tourism in the state, especially in Gurgaon, the Gurgaon deputy commissioner RP Bhardwaj has said that the Haryana Government had withdrawn the earlier notification.

"Those interested in opening shops whether in the malls or outside in open markets would now be required to acquire exemption under clause 9 and 10 of the Punjab Shops & Commercial Establishments Act 1958," he said.

In Gurgaon, only Shoppers' Stop (in MGF Metropolitan Mall) and Lifestyle (in DLF City Centre Mall) and PVR and DT Cinemas have the required exemption. The IT and ITeS (BPOs and Call Centres) sector is already exempted from this under special clauses of the Information Technology Act. 

Mall managers are calling it a draconian order. "Major chunk of revenue comes to our tenants on Saturdays and Sundays only when footfall reaches its peak. We are shocked," said Sanjay Chawla of DLF Mall.

Footfall at the malls on Sundays and Saturdays reach 25-35,000 while it remains around 10,000 on weekdays.

"All the mall managers have met the DC urging reversal of the order. We pleaded that the mall concept all over the world allows 24X7 operation and Gurgaon, which is global city now, should not be an exception. If there has to be a holiday for the mall, it should be a Monday which is a lean day," said an official of another mall.

Bhardwaj told HT that the mall managers had met him. "The shopkeepers in Sadar Bazar in Old Gurgaon also keep their shops closed on Sundays and the same should be the case in malls as well. I have given them a  week's time,” Bhardwaj added.

Mall managers, however, have an ace up their sleeve. "Since the process of acquiring exemption is tedious and the permission comes from Chandigarh, not all the shopkeepers can go and apply individually. We will do it for them," said Chawla of DLF Mall.

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