Most shops in Pune fail to clock-in 12 hours of business, down shutters by 4pm
Establishments on main streets do not abide by the 7pm deadline and shut early on police instructions, or on their ownUpdated: May 25, 2020 16:05 IST
The city is slowly limping back to normalcy during lockdown 4.0 with major relaxations in place in non-containment zones for resumption of businesses, however, shop owners are preferring to down their shutters before the 7pm deadline.
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has given permission for non-essential shops to operate in non-containment zones between 7am and 7pm, but many are preferring to close it by 4pm either due to the instructions of police officials or on their own.
Pune municipal commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad admitted that the administration has been getting complaints from shop owners about their establishments being asked to close down by 4pm. “I have been getting at least four to five complaints every day and I pass them on to the police commissioner for appropriate action.”
Owner of Ramesh Supermarket, a grocery shop off Pune-Satara road, said that while the PMC order clearly states that shops can remain open till 7pm, police officials ask them to shut shop by afternoon. “We have been closing our shop by 3pm according to the order by police officials.” The owner, however, refused to share his name.
Like Satara road, where most essential and non-essential shops except medical stores are shut by 4pm despite the 7pm order, the scene is no different at NIBM road.
Police commissioner K Venkatesham said that the orders are clear. “Nobody will close shops unless they want to close on their own. If they are asked to close their shops before time, they can complain on the number 100. The shop owners can also communicate with us on 89752 83100, which is the control room WhatsApp number.”
There is, however, a mixed response in major parts of Kothrud, where shops are open till 7pm on the main streets while establishments on internal roads close by afternoon. Gift articles and clothes shop owner at Paud road, Ramesh Parmar, said, “I keep my shop open from 10:30am to 7pm, but I do not get many customers these days.”
The market at Paramhansnagar in Kothrud still wears a deserted look as most of the shops are yet to open. “I feel like I am starting my business from scratch, again. Shops around my establishment are yet to open,” owner of an automobile repairing centre said.
Fattechand Ranka, president of Pune Vyapari Mahasangh, however, puts into perspective another reason why the shops might prefer closing earlier. “The main reason why shops are closed by police officials at 5pm is because staffers who are working at the respective shops need to reach home before 7pm as there is curfew. If they keep working till 7pm, how will they reach home before the curfew starts?” said Ranka.
In Baner, which has seen very less number of Covid-19 areas, life is back to normal as most of the shops are open till 7pm.
“It is good to see other shops opening up as it keeps the roads busy and the charm of Baner road is coming back,” owner of the Jayshree grocery shop said.
“I wanted to purchase a scarf from a shop located on Karve road which was at 11am. However, I already had two bags of groceries and I decided to buy the scarf in the evening at 5pm, but when I came back, the shop was closed, Other shops were also closed,” said Pranita Wagh, who stays in Karvenagar.
The early closure of shops may not be in consonance with PMC’s proposal to extend the public movement further till 11 pm. During a meeting with deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar on Saturday, the PMC commissioner said that the curfew relaxation can be extended till 1pm after May 31 when lockdown 4.0 ends. “We will decide as per the government order post May 31,” said Gaikwad.