DDMA shuts Laxmi Nagar market over Covid protocol violation

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New Delhi, Jun 30 (PTI) The Laxmi Nagar main market and some nearby marketplaces have been closed by the east Delhi district administration till July 5 following violation of COVID-19 protocols there, officials said on Wednesday.

In an order issued on Tuesday, Sonika Singh, chairperson of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (east district), said the market association and shopkeepers in the main bazaar of Laxmi Nagar were 'unable to ensure Covid protocols (compliance) on last Sunday (June 27) due to large footfall'.

'The guidelines/directions of Covid protocol are being contravened in the Main Bazar, Laxmi Nagar which may cause super spreading of the coronavirus. The Market Welfare Association of Main Bazaar, Laxmi Nagar has failed to ensure strict compliance of guidelines of COVID-19,' the order said.

It was necessary to take an “immediate and stringent action” to curtail the spread of the virus in the larger interest of the public, it added.

The areas that will remain closed till July 5 include the Laxmi Nagar main market from Vikas Marg to Lovely Public School, Kisan Kunj, and its surrounding markets like Mangal Bazaar, Vijay Chowk, Subhash Chowk, Jagatram Park and Guru Ramdas Nagar.

The restrictions are applicable on all shops except those dealing in essential goods and services.

Delhi was under a complete lockdown from April 19 to May 30, following which the capital saw a phased unlock process. Markets were, however, allowed to reopen only from June 7 onwards.

Reacting to the order, the Chamber of Trade and Industry (CTI) said the markets were being made a “soft target”.

'There are about 950 small and big markets in Delhi, out of which even 50 markets will not see crowds. There is no business due to Covid … the condition of businessmen is bad. Markets are always made a soft target,' CTI chairman Brijesh Goyal said.

'Markets and traders are the backbone of the economy,' he added.

According to Goyal, it is not the traders’ responsibility to control crowds in market places.

'A trader can ensure compliance of Covid guidelines inside his shop, office and godown. Police and administration will have to work hard on the roads outside the markets and in public places.

'In any market where crowds are seen, the administration should meet with the market associations concerned and work on improving the situation,' Goyal said.

He added that a CTI team would meet the Laxmi Nagar police and the local district magistrate over the issue.

Laxmi Nagar's business leader Raj Garg reiterated the concerns of the CTI.

'Administration officials did not even talk to the traders' organisations by coming to the market. There is a situation of traffic jams in the markets in the evening due to which the crowd is visible.

'Shopkeepers can take the guarantee for their shops, but the responsibility of the crowd on the streets outside lies with the police administration,' Garg said. PTI TRS IJT

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