Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday announced opening of shops in markets on an odd-even basis and warned that if social distancing norms are not maintained by a shopkeeper, his or her shop will be closed and action will be taken.
“We will open on Tuesday and follow the odd-even directive as per the government’s order. Connaught Place has been set up in such a way that it will not be difficult to ensure social distancing measures.
FILE: Connaught Place market wears a deserted look during the ongoing nationwide COVID-19 lockdown, at Ring Road in New Delhi. PTI
“We are however, disappointed with the odd-even restrictions. Rather than applying same rule to all markets , the government should take decision market wise,” Atul Bhagava, president, New Delhi Traders Association (NDTA) said.
A man cleans a door of a shop after the government eased a nationwide lockdown imposed as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, at Khan Market in New Delhi on Monday. ANI
Sanjeev Mehra, president, Khan Market Traders Association, said, “Though we have our reservations against the formula and the guidelines, we will resume operations from Tuesday.”
“The shops in Sarojini Nagar markets will open from Tuesday. We met police officials on Monday and decided that each of the eight gates at the market will be manned by a policeman and a market representative carrying sanitizers and thermal screening device,” said Ashok Randhawa, president Sarojini Nahar Market Traders Association.
“There are 600 shops in the market. Besides there are around 900 street vendors. We will ensure strict implementation of social distancing. Some shopkeepers wanted to keep the market closed till May 31 but majority supported opening shops at the earliest because they are facing financial hardships due to complete lockdown for past two months,” Randhawa added.
The markets have been closed since March 24 when a nationwide lockdown was announced to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Manohar Lal Kumar, Chairman Bhartiya Udyog Vypar Mandal, Sadar Bazar, said the market will not open on Tuesday and further course of action will be decided.
“We will discuss the Delhi government’s order and decide on opening the shops on Tuesday. There are provisions like timing and social distancing norms that need to be looked in,” he said.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) also opposed the odd-even formula for opening shops, saying the government should not keep the base of odd-even for markets since it will be a setback for the traders.
“The odd-even concept can not work smoothly for business operations. Traders in Delhi are dependent upon each other for procurement of goods and in the event of odd-even scheme, the business activities will not be able to resume in a smooth manner. “Even from the point of consumers, it is very inconvenient as it will deprive the consumers from their choice since half of the shops will be closed for each day,” CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said.
Sanjay Bhargava, president Chandni Chowk Sarv Vyapar Mandal said that their association had decided four days back that the shops will remain closed till May 31. “The reason being, there are containment zones in the area and it will be very difficult to maintain social distancing norms due to space crunch in the congested area.”