Unlock Delhi markets without further delay: Domestic traders body CAIT writes to LG, Chief Minister

CAIT has written a letter to Delhi LG Anil Baijal and CM Arvind Kejriwal, urging them to take cognisance of the declining positivity rate in the city and pass an "immediate order" to reopen markets

Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: PTI)
Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: PTI)


Domestic traders body CAIT on Thursday wrote a letter to Delhi 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 over?-one-month-long lockdown period 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 in Delhi and as per yesterday's health bulletin the positivity rate in Delhi has slipped around 1 per cent with a positive cases of about 500 only, which is a big relief from almost 35 per cent a month back," 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.

Delhi, which has been under strict lockdown since April 19 to combat the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, had started the unlock process from Monday by allowing the construction sector and factories to resume operations.

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 in collaboration with respective trade associations for employees and work force".

Not in favour of the old ''odd-even'' system of unlocking, which they said has been a "failure" in the past too, they have urged that markets should open every day based on wholesale-retail staggered timing format.

"The wholesale markets should have work timings from morning 10 am to evening 4 pm, whereas the retail markets should open from afternoon 12 pm to evening 7 pm," the CAIT suggested.

"All transport & Logistics also be allowed to function as per these timings rather than following the general rules of ''No Entry''... The Delhi Metro Rail services should be aligned with market opening timings," it said.

Further, it also noted that the decision to choose between wholesale and retail for classification of trade under any of the two formats should be left open to the markets.

While the night curfew should continue to be imposed from "10 pm to 5 am", in case of any increase in Covid cases post unlocking, according to the CAIT, the government might declare the concerned area as "containment zone" with applicable restrictions.

"In this way, any possible infection can be controlled. whereas on the other hand the economic and commercial activities can also take place," it explained.

For Delhi's hawkers and street vendors, which have been struggling for their livelihood due to the ongoing coronavirus-induced lockdown, the body recommended that they be moved into a special ''Hawking Zone'' or be stationed in government school premises, which are empty at the moment.

This, besides "avoiding spread of COVID-19", will ensure social distancing and give the hawkers and street vendors "every opportunity" to earn their livelihood, the traders body explained.

It also recommended a mass sanitisation drive across Delhi markets by the MCD as markets are shut for over 60 days.

Emphasizing on the need and importance of vaccination, they also requested the authorities to set up vaccination camps in markets in collaboration with respective trade associations for the employees and workforce.

Lastly, they urged the government to hold a discussion with Delhi traders and take them into confidence before implementing any decision.

"It should be a two-way process and participative governance approach if the government wants the traders to cooperate and stand in solidarity with the government in this battle against coronavirus," it noted.

Delhi on Wednesday recorded 576 fresh COVID-19 cases, lowest since March 17, at a positivity rate of 0.78 per cent and 103 more fatalities due to the disease.

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