COVID-19: Traders in Delhi not in support of imposition of lockdown in markets

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New Delhi, Nov 17 (PTI) Majority of traders in Delhi expressed disappointment on Tuesday over the Kejriwal government's plan to impose lockdown in markets, saying they are being treated as 'scapegoats' and have also not recovered from the losses incurred in the first lockdown.

Amid a spurt in COVID-19 cases in Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday sought power from the Centre to impose lockdown in those markets which may emerge as COVID-19 hotspots.

'The government is treating us as scapegoats. We recovered some losses during the festival season and now the government is threatening to shut the markets. We are maintaining utmost care like social distancing and use of face masks to protect from COVID-19,' said Ashok Randhawa, General Secretary, Sarojini Nagar Market Association.

'If the government wants to check coronavirus it should impose one or two days of complete lockdown instead of targeting markets only,' he said.

A representative of the New Delhi Traders Association under which the Connaught Place market also comes, said, 'Not the same rule can be applied to all markets. The old Delhi markets have different establishment and structure, while markets like CP and Khan Market are differently built where it is possible to maintain social distancing norms efficiently.' Chandni Chiwk Vyapar Mandal president Sanjay Bhargava has a different view. He supported the government's proposal, saying it's very difficult to maintain social distancing in crowded markets like Chandni Chowk.

'The government should consider alternate opening of wholesale and retail markets to tackle the situation. Also, it should pay attention to other things like public transport that lead to crowded conditions,' he said.

The chief minister said the Centre and all agencies are making 'double efforts' to control the COVID-19 situation in the national capital.

'We are sending a proposal to the Centre to give power to the Delhi government to impose lockdown in market areas which may emerge as COVID-19 hotspots,' the chief minister said.

During Diwali, it was seen that many people were not wearing masks and violating social distancing norms due to which the coronavirus spread very much, he said.

'I hope the crowd in the markets will thin out and there will be no need to lock them down.

'However, if violations of mask wearing and social distancing are witnessed and there is a chance of these markets becoming local coronavirus hotspots, these could be shutdown as a preventive measure for some days,' Kejriwal said.

On Monday, Health Minister Satyendar Jain had said there was no chance of reimposition of lockdown in the national capital since the third wave of coronavirus has peaked out in the city. PTI VIT GJS KJ