State traders demand scrapping of Sunday lockdown in view of festive rush
Jharkhand traders have appealed Hemant Soren government to scrap or relax existing curbs on the functioning of markets during the weekend, especially on Sundays, in view of the festive season. After facing a massive slump in their business owing to the Covid-19 outbreak since March last year, different traders, mainly those dealing in garments, footwear, electronics and the likes, are banking on the current festive season starting from Durga puja for the revival of their businesses.
While the state government has already eased its Covid induced lockdown by allowing almost everything in the last two months, it however is continuing with its weekend lockdown under which non-essential trades are still not permitted to run their business from Saturday night (8pm) till Monday morning (6am).
Federation of Jharkhand Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FJCCI), an umbrella outfit of different trade bodies, has urged to relax weekend lockdown too citing festive shopping.
“Cases of Covid-19 is very much under control in the state. Ahead of Durga Puja, markets are slowly getting a steady footfall for festive shopping. But closure of major markets on Sundays is becoming a problem as majority of working class prefer to shop on this day. Therefore, we have urged the state government to relax Sunday lockdown during the festive season while everyone will continue to follow all the prescribed Covid-19 protocols,” said FJCCI president Dheeraj Taneja.
Another official of FJCCI has also demanded for the extension of trading window during normal days. “Currently, markets, except eateries and bars are permitted till 10pm and rest only till 8pm. We demand all markets to also allow to keep their doors open till 10 pm as customers mostly come during evening and night hours on working days,” he said.
Unlike last year, Durga puja this year too is expected to be a simple affair as government hasn’t allowed big ticket pandals and has curbed all kinds of fairs or hosting of events in and around its vicinity to prevent huge gatherings. Entry into the pandals has also been prohibited.
Nevertheless, puja fever has caught on with the people visiting markets regularly in the last few days. A staff at Bharat Electronics said that compared to last year, they are expecting good business this time. “Covid was at its peak in our state around this time last year but the situation is different. Moreover, successive lockdowns coupled with loss of salary and jobs forced people to stay away from any kind of celebrations. But since the last one month, we have started doing good business again. Many have even placed advance booking for dhanteras and Diwali,” he said.