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Lockdown no solution, Delhi govt should try opening markets in phased manner: NDTA chief

Image Source : PTI

Connaught Place wears a deserted look during COVID-induced lockdown, in New Delhi.

Lockdown is not a permanent solution and the Delhi government should now think of opening markets in a “phased manner” with strict enforcement of laws, said National Delhi Traders Association (NDTA) president Atul Bhargava, who alleged that no relief whatsoever has been given to traders sitting on heavy losses.

The lockdown first imposed on April 19 amid a steep rise in COVID-19 cases has been extended thrice so far. On May 9, it was extended by another week by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, till May 17 morning.

“Nobody was in favour of the lockdown since the beginning. But then we just had no option keeping in view the unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases. However, now we are of the opinion that the government instead of extending lockdown should open the markets in a phased manner with strict enforcement of laws and proper sanitisation,” Bhargava told PTI.

“Here, we also need to understand that even after the opening of the markets, it will take another 15-20 days for people getting ok with the idea of heading out and us to restore the sense of confidence in them,” he added.

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Delhi reported 13,287 new coronavirus cases and 300 more fatalities on Wednesday, while the positivity rate came down to 17 per cent, the lowest in nearly a month, according to the health department.

According to Bhargava, the traders, who have stood with the nation in “all difficult times”, are now in dire need of support from the government and claimed that the “umpteen letters” written to the powers that be for help have fallen on deaf ears.

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“No relief has been given to traders in any form till date. We have to pay our EMI, salary, rents, payments, property tax, loan repayments, GST on time without any support from the government. More and more traders are finding it difficult to survive. I have written at least 150 letters to people in positing power requesting them to help the traders community, but have failed to receive a single reply so far,” he claimed.

Equally worried with the present situation of the shopkeepers, Baljeet Singh Kohli, Chairman of the Palika Bazar Association, has requested waving off the estate license fee bill for the months of May and June.

“It is not out of the place to mention here that we have paid the license fee bills to the NDMC during the lockdown period in 2020 and no relief has been given by them in spite of our repeated requests. The situation is just going to get a lot worse with time,” he claimed in a statement.

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