CAIT, the domestic traders’ body, has written to the Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to pass an immediate order to reopen markets. The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has said that 15 lakh traders have taken a “severe beating” due to the over-one-month-long lockdown period.
“The combined efforts of the government and citizens of Delhi have had a significant impact on COVID-19 situation in Delhi and as per yesterday’s health bulletin, the positivity rate in Delhi has slipped around 1% with positive cases of about 500 only, which is a big relief from almost 35% a month back,” said Praveen Khandelwal, National Secretary General, CAIT. “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.”
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.
As such, the CAIT 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.
The traders’ body is not supportive of the odd-even system of unlocking. It described the system as a failure in the past too. The CAIT urged that markets should open every day based on wholesale-retail staggered timing format. “The wholesale markets should have work timings from morning 10am to evening 4pm, whereas the retail markets should open from afternoon 12pm to evening 7pm,” it said. “All transport and 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.”
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. Besides avoiding the spread of COVID-19, it will ensure social distancing and give the hawkers and street vendors every opportunity to earn their livelihood.
Furthermore, CAIT recommended a mass sanitation drive across Delhi markets by the MCD as markets are shut for over 60 days.