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Plea to call off proposed trade bandh in Assam

The ACC called for a day-long vyapar bandh following the Janata Curfew to contain the spread of coronavirus

By Debananda Medak in Guwahati
  • Published 23.03.20, 12:50 AM
  • Updated 23.03.20, 12:50 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
Terming the proposed vyapar bandh as illegal, AIPC, Assam president Gaurav Somani said, “Under such a confused and grim situation where Covid-19 is hovering around people and daily routine being disturbed, such illegal trade bandhs without government permission and advisory shall create more panic " (Shutterstock)

The proposed day-long vyapar bandh (business strike), called by the Assam Chamber of Commerce, imposing a shutdown of all business activities on Monday, has come under severe criticism by several organisations and political parties.

The Assam state unit of the All India Professional Congress (AIPC), Kamrup Chamber of Commerce (KCC) and other commercial organisations of the Northeast on Sunday requested the Assam Chamber of Commerce to call off the proposed vyapar bandh, asserting that it will put a strain on availability of essentials commodities in the market and lead to panic buying.

The ACC on Saturday called for a day-long vyapar bandh following the Janata Curfew to contain the spread of coronavirus.

KCC president M.P. Jain, wholesale general merchant association general secretary Prakash Gupta and North East Distributors Association general secretary Poonam Taneja said as they deal dealing with essential commodities, they should keep offices/godowns open and ready with the stocks to feed the markets, otherwise there shall be scarcity of products.

The heads of the commercial organisations added: “At this hour of crisis, we should act as the medical teams, police and other essential services as we deal in edible oil, milk, hygiene products, baby food and whole lot of other day-to-day necessities.”

Terming the proposed vyapar bandh as illegal, AIPC, Assam president Gaurav Somani said, “Under such a confused and grim situation where Covid-19 is hovering around people and daily routine being disturbed, such illegal trade bandhs without government permission and advisory shall create more panic among the people.

Somani said, “The state and local administrations were advised to exempt all such services from the mandatory closure and prohibitory orders to maintain proper supply and logistic chain eco system.”

“At this hour of crisis, medical supplies, edible oil, milk, hygiene products, baby food and a whole lot of necessities should be made available and people should strictly adhere to government instruction and advisories,” he added.

The Centre, in its circular on March 20, said, “To ensure that there is no disruption or panic, state governments and local administrations are advised to exempt commerce operations (warehousing and logistic facilities and services), wholesaler, their vendors, and third party delivery partners from any type of prohibitory orders.”

The Kamrup Chamber of Commerce (KCC), Guwahati has urged the railways to suspend collection of demurrage and wharfage charges with effect from February 15 to help maintain supply in the

Northeast and check price rise in the wake of the coronavirus scare.

According to the railways, demurrage means the charge levied for the detention of any rolling stock after the expiry of free time, if any, allowed for such detention and wharfage means the charge levied on goods for not removing them from the railway property after the expiry of the free time for such removal.

 The Centre fixes the rates of demurrage and wharfage from time to time by general or special order and to specify the conditions subject to which such rates shall apply.

The Chamber has approached the railway authorities that in view of the current spread of coronavirus the availability of labourers and local transport have been seriously affected, and, as such, the Railways should at least from February 15, temporarily suspend collection of demurrage and wharfage charges so that the cost of essential commodities does not increase,” said a statement of KCC released on Sunday.

An NF Railway official said the Railways will look into the matter and will take a decision after studying the merits of the cases by the competent authority.

Additional reporting by Rokibuz Zaman