Markets in Delhi will continue to remain open as the traders’ body – Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) – has decided to postpone its decision to shut down shops, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi intervened in the matter. CAIT, a leading body of over 50 million small and medium merchants in the country, on Sunday said that commercial markets in Delhi would remain open for the time being.
The body’s decision comes after the direct intervention of the prime minister and aggressive steps announced by Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday morning. Shah, after a meeting with Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, announced several measures like doubling the number of test centres across the containment zones and increasing the number of tests and isolation beds.
CAIT, however, said that if the situation warranted it would have to revisit its decision. It said that if the situation deteriorated it would decide on whether to open the markets on odd-even basis, or on alternate days, or four-day opening and three-day closing of shops.
“Over the last 10 days the situation in Delhi has become extremely alarming and there is widespread fear and insecurity among the traders of Delhi who have been making repeated requests to take up the matter urgently with the Centre and state governments. This prompted CAIT to conduct a survey of Delhi traders and discuss the matter with higher authorities,” said Praveen Khandelwal, national secretary general, CAIT.
The survey, conducted among 2,800 trade associations and leaders representing 1.5 million city traders, threw up data that showed that an overwhelming majority of Delhi traders are in favour of closure of markets to stop the spread of Covid-19 cases. Over 88 per cent of the traders backed closure of markets to curb Covid-19’s spread among traders and customers, while a whopping 99.4 per cent expressed concern over the pandemic’s spread. Nearly 96.6 per cent said they were worried about the spread of Covid-19 at marketplaces.
Following the outcome of the survey, the Delhi-headquartered organisation approached Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, seeking their intervention and consultation.
Today, CAIT expressed satisfaction that the efforts had paid off after the prime minister made a timely intervention and the home minister held fruitful discussions with the state government. “The steps announced by the home minister to ramp up contact tracing and testing will definitely prove beneficial and the decision to construct makeshift hospitals and medical facilities under the joint supervision of the central government will expedite the facilities for Covid-19 patients,” said Khandelwal.