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Covid: Jharkahnd traders seek extension of business hours

The federation also demanded that the e-pass system for vehicular movement within the state be abolished
The Covid situation has improved in the state during the partial lockdown.

Achintya Ganguly   |   Ranchi   |   Published 01.06.21, 01:20 AM

The Federation of Jharkhand Chamber of Commerce and Industries on Monday called for extending business hours, allowing trading of “seasonal merchandise” and abolishing the e-pass system for vehicular movement within the state in response to chief minister Hemant Soren’s tweet seeking suggestions on the process of relaxing restrictions in place to control the spread of Covid-19.

Soren’s tweet earlier in the day indicated that the state government was in favour of either discontinuing the ongoing five-week lockdown or allowing more relaxations if it was extended further.


Underscoring that the state was able to control the spread of Covid-19, Soren said that “in the struggle between life and livelihood, our focus will now be on the latter” and invited suggestions on the process of “Unlock-1”.

“Since lockdown can’t continue indefinitely, we have to be engaged in different economic activities while taking precautions for checking the spread of the infection,” federation president Praveen Jain Chabra told The Telegraph while welcoming the chief minister’s decision.

Since the intention is to avoid crowds, it is desirable that business hours be extended beyond the present 2pm deadline so that customers get more time to buy necessary things without crowding the shops, he argued.

“The business establishments dealing in seasonal merchandise such as clothes and dresses for marriage and electrical items like fans, coolers or air-conditioners for summer should be allowed to open immediately,” Chabra further said, adding that otherwise the traders will have to wait for the next session resulting in their capital getting stuck.

The e-pass system for vehicle movement within the state should also be withdrawn to facilitate smooth running of businesses, he added.

“We will, however, formally communicate our views after an executive committee meeting, to be held this evening, takes the final decisions on those points,” Chabra said.

The Covid situation has improved in the state during the partial lockdown that was introduced on April 22 and extended, in phases, till June 3 morning.The number of active Covid cases that stood at 35,826 on April 22 came down to 9,906 on Sunday evening, while the infection rate also dropped from 11.66 per cent to 1.58 per cent during the period.

The recovery rate which stood at 78.89 per cent, less than the national rate of 85.60 per cent, on April 22 also improved to 95.58 per cent, more than the national rate of 91.30 per cent, during the period.

However, with 3,368 deaths reported due to the virus during the period, the mortality rose from the earlier 0.90 per cent to 1.47 per cent, while the national rate was 1.20 per cent.

“Yes, the situation has certainly improved. We now have to handle about one-third of the total number of patients that we had earlier,” said Dr Prabhat Kumar, who heads the Covid-19 task force at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in Ranchi.

Asked how can the spread of Covid-19 infection be checked if the lockdown is lifted, he said: “All should now behave responsibly.”

Covid-appropriate behaviour like the use of masks and sanitisers and maintaining social distance have be strictly followed by the people while going out, he added.

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