New Delhi, Aug 19 (PTI) The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Wednesday gave approval for the opening of hotels and weekly markets, a move that is expected to help revive the city's economy which was hit by the coronavirus pandemic and months of lockdown.
The move to open gyms, however, failed to get DDMA approval, said a Delhi government statement.
The decision was taken in a meeting of the DDMA which was also attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal through video conference.
'The coronavirus situation in Delhi is much better now and the economy has to be now brought on track,' Kejriwal said, urging all stakeholders to maintain social distancing and follow other precautionary measures against the virus. The proposal to open gyms was not approved in the meeting headed by Lt Governor Anil Baijal. The LG said gyms can be allowed to open in the coming days.
The weekly markets will be first opened on trial basis to assess the situation on the ground.
Hotels, weekly markets and gyms were closed in the city with the announcement of the lockdown in March in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.
'All hotels in Delhi to open after the proposal of the Delhi government was approved at the DDMA meeting,' said the Delhi government statement.
Kejriwal said that Delhi government's proposal for opening all the hotels in the city was rejected by the central government. 'We again requested the central government and we are happy that now the proposal has been approved. Now all hotels in Delhi will be opened. At the same time, the weekly market will be opened on a trial basis. In the meantime, everyone must exercise precautions and follow social distancing,' he said.
The DDMA decision was welcomed by many hotel and restaurant associations as well traders bodies which thanked the chief minister for his efforts to get the hotels and weekly markets opened in the city.
'DHROA wholeheartedly thanks Arvind Kejriwal, the beloved chief minister of Delhi. The decision to open the hotel is a new ray of life given to us. It is a step to provide livelihood and employment opportunities. The move will also make migrant workers happy,' Delhi Hotels & Restaurant's Owner's Association (DHROA) wrote to the chief minister according to the statement.
In the last week of July, the Arvind Kejriwal government had decided to allow hotels and gyms to reopen in the city, and start weekly markets on a trial basis for seven days with social distancing and all other COVID 19 measures in place. However, on July 31 the Lt Governor Anil Baijal 'rejected' Delhi government's decision to allow hotels and weekly markets under Unlock 3, citing the fragile situation due to coronavirus pandemic in the city, said the statement.
The Delhi government sent a fresh proposal to the LG, on August 6, seeking his permission to allow hotels, gymnasium, and weekly markets to reopen in the national capital. The fresh proposal sent by Delhi Revenue minister Kailash Gehlot had advocated opening of hotels, weekly markets, saying that the condition of Delhi was improving and the number of COVID-19 cases were coming down. In the fresh request, the Delhi government observed that the situation in Delhi was fast improving and economic activities needed to be opened up so that people affected with four months of lockdown could resume their jobs and businesses, while following laid down guidelines.
'After having successfully brought COVID situation under control, it is a challenge to bring the economy back on track. Opening up these two sectors will help in that direction, said the government in its statement.
The hotels contribute to 8 per cent of the state's GDP and employment. Weekly bazaars provide employment to 5 lakh poor families, it added. PTI VIT BUN AAR