Irked by low sales, GB Nagar traders demand change in curfew timings
The 7am to 7pm timing for shops and marketplaces is not working for the shop owners in Gautam Budh Nagar, who now get to open their individual shops only on alternate days. The representatives of different markets said their timings collides with the office timings and as Sunday has been mandated as sanitization day, the markets are yet to see sales picking up.
Sushil Kumar Jain, president, Sector 18 market association, said taking cognisance of traders’ problems, the government must change the 12-hour curfew from 7pm to 7am. “Most of our customers are either at work or running their own businesses. They do not get the time to shop after returning offices. And, on Sunday, a holiday when many could hit the markets, the shops are mandatorily closed for disinfection and sanitization,” he said.
Jain said traders do not have a problem with the 12-hour curfew. “We just want the curfew timings to change slightly. Even if it is rescheduled, say, from 10pm to 10am, we will be happy as most customers will then have time to visit our shops even after returning home from work,” he said.
Echoing similar views, CB Jha, president of Atta market association, said in the present scenario, traders will not be able to sustain themselves for a long time. “Expenses have gone up due to the pandemic and the returns are negligible. The highest daily sale recorded at our market today (Wednesday) and was to the tune of ₹1,000. Even if it increases at a rate of 20%, the monthly income of a shopkeeper, who gets to open shop only every alternate day would be around ₹20,000. How can we meet the rent, staff salaries and other expenses with this earning? We are waiting for the Prime Minister’s speech Sunday. If he does not come up with some major relaxations, we have unanimously decided to down our shutters permanently,” he said.
Zakir Hussain, who runs a jewellery shop in Sector 22, said despite giving regular GST returns, the small and medium businessmen are the biggest sufferers. “If the government can provide monetary assistance to farmers and MSME entrepreneurs, the small and middle level businessmen should also be the part of the beneficiaries’ bracket,” he said.
Anita Singh, who runs a stationary shop in Sector 18, said shopkeepers of different markets in Noida are keeping their fingers crossed. “We are waiting for the fourth phase of the lockdown to end on May 31. After that, we will take a call on how to proceed. The government has nothing for us in its recently announced ₹2 lakh crore package. We have no subsidy on electricity bills. The interest on our bank loans is mounting up every day,” she said.
When contacted, district magistrate Suhas LY said his administration is working on all possible relief measures for businessmen. “We will also consider the issue of changing the curfew timing,” he said.