- Business fraternity in Delhi expressed disappointment over DDMA decision to continue weekend curfew
- Delhi govt had proposed lifting weekend curfew and ending odd-even scheme for opening shops.
- The LG directed that the status quo be maintained until the situation improves.
The business fraternity in the national capital on Friday expressed disappointment over the DDMA's decision to keep in place the weekend curfew and odd-even rule for shops.
Functionaries of the Chamber of Traders Industry (CTI) said they will stage protests across Delhi if the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) does not revise its decision in the next two to three days.
CTI chairman Brijesh Goyal in a statement said Delhi's 20 lakh traders are deeply disappointed by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal's decision. The lieutenant governor heads DDMA, the highest decision-making body on COVID-19-related issues.
“We request DDMA chairman LG Anil Baijal to remove the odd-even and weekend curfew keeping in mind the livelihood of 20 lakh traders and their 40 lakh employees. If there is no relief in the next two-three days, the CTI will agitate with traders from all over Delhi,” Goyal stated.
Earlier in the day, the Delhi government had proposed lifting the weekend curfew and ending the odd-even scheme for opening shops. But, the lieutenant governor directed that the status quo be maintained until the situation improves. His office, however, approved the government's proposal to allow private firms to function with 50 per cent of staff.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), too, urged Baijal to reconsider his decision. CAIT national secretary general Praveen Khandelwal said trade has declined by about 60 per cent in the last 20 days due to the restrictions.
“The trade of Delhi is facing an acute financial crisis for the last two years. The odd-even system, which has proved an utter failure in Delhi, and the weekend lockdown should be lifted,” Khandelwal said. Federation of Sadar Bazar Traders Associations vice chairman Paramjit Singh Pamma said traders are “unhappy” over the DDMA decision.
“Due to the odd-even and weekend curfew, our businesses have been affected. When markets of the neighbouring cities are open, there is no point in keeping them shut in Delhi. We urge the LG to reconsider his decision,” Pamma said. Similar concerns were echoed by Kamla Nagar Traders Association president Nitin Gupta. He said the traders are “dismayed” over the DDMA’s move.
“Traders are not allowed to do business but politicians can carry out rallies. We cannot pay salaries by doing business two days a week. There is no restriction on street vendors, which are the actual crowd pullers in markets,” Gupta said.
Sarojini Nagar Mini Market Traders Association chief Ashok Randhawa said that the business community was suffering because of the “politics between the Delhi government and the LG”.
The Delhi government, too, said it was “unfortunate” that the lieutenant governor turned down the traders’ demand. Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta said traders were suffering due to the wrong policies of the city government and the DDMA on COVID-19. “The LG and the city government should review their policies (on COVID-19),” Gupta said in a statement.
New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) vice-chairman Satish Upadhyay wrote to Baijal to review the odd-even policy for certain businesses. “Upadhyay mentioned in his letter that metro and buses are operating with full capacity and as per the latest report of Delhi government, the numbers of cases are also reducing day by day. “Upadhyay requested to the L-G to kindly review the rule of odd-even for shops for smooth lives of traders,” the NDMC statement read.