NEW DELHI: Traders in Delhi have once again raised the demand to reopen markets in view of the declining Covid cases.
Domestic traders body CAIT on Thursday wrote to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, urging them to take cognisance of the declining positivity rate in the city and pass an “immediate order” to reopen markets.
The 15 lakh city traders, according to the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), have taken a “severe beating” due to the lockdown and are in “dire financial state”.
“The combined efforts of the government and citizens of Delhi have had a significant impact on the Covid situation, which is a big relief,” read the letter by Praveen Khandelwal, National Secretary General, CAIT.
“In view of the above, we request you to take immediate steps to unlock Delhi, which is the need of the hour, to ensure that commercial activities should start without any further delay,” it added.
In the letter, the CAIT also suggested several unlock measures, including separate work timings for “wholesale and retail markets”, creating “special hawkers and street vendors zone” to ensure social distancing, and “vaccination camps for employees”.
Not in favour of the old “odd-even” system of unlocking, which they said has been a “failure” in the past, they have urged that markets should open every day based on wholesale-retail staggered timing format.
“The wholesale markets should have timings from 10 am to 4 pm, whereas the retail markets should open from afternoon 12 pm to 7 pm,” the CAIT suggested.
Last week, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) permitted resumption of construction and manufacturing activities in the city under the phased unlock process.
Delhi came under lockdown on April 19 as Covid cases as well as fatalities surged.
The lockdown, after a series of extensions, is scheduled to end at 5 AM on June 7.
Brijesh Goyal, chairman of Chamber of Trade and Industry (CTI) said with the decrease in Covid cases, markets have started opening in states like Haryana, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Since there has been a significant decline in Covid cases in Delhi as well, the traders of the city have now appealed to the government and the Lieutenant Governor to open the markets, he said.
Goyal, who is also the convener of trade wing of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi, had claimed last week after a DDMA meeting that reopening markets was requested by the city government but it was turned down by the Lt Governor.
"I would like to assure that in next DDMA meeting, the Delhi government will try its best and put in all efforts to seek permissions for reopening of markets," he had said.
The Delhi government must ensure that the unlocking process is carried out in a phased manner to minimise the risk of the spread of Covid in the city, said Sachin Taparia, founder of community social media platform LocalCircles.
"Citizens of Delhi have suggested that retail stores be opened only for home deliveries in the first week followed by opening with reduced hours in the second week," he said citing a survey conducted by the platform.
If cases do not rise, a full opening of stores and markets may be permitted from June 21, he added.
(With PTI Inputs)