Online business will end us if markets don’t open, Delhi traders say
As Delhi’s government announced a gradual reopening of the capital – starting with construction works and factories – from Monday, traders in the city demanded they be allowed to open their stores.
Competition from online shopping websites, having to dip into their savings to pay rent, rising medical bills, and the need to downsize staff are some of the reasons traders list for allowing them to resume their activities.
Ashok Randhawa, president of the Sarojini Nagar Mini Market Traders’ Association, said he and his wife had contracted Covid. “My wife had to be injected with Remdesivir and was on oxygen for days. We ended up spending over Rs 5 lakh to buy drugs on the black market; it is the story of several households that were infected and ended up using up their savings on treatment. How will we pay our staff if the stores are not allowed to operate? We want the government to allow us to open stores to earn something, ”he said.
This has been picked up by traders in all markets including Lajpat Nagar, Connaught Place, South Extension, and Sadar Bazar. Paramjeet Singh Pamma, vice president of the Sadar Bazar Traders Association Federation, said they have to pay electricity bills and rent even when their stores are closed.
“The factories were allowed to open, but where are they going to get the raw material from if the wholesale markets, especially Old Delhi, are closed? The lead times can be limited so that we at least deliver our products, ”he said.
Sanjeev Madan, president of the Lajpat Nagar Market Association, added: “The entire supply chain is going for a draw. If someone took out a loan, they would default. It will eventually stop payments to suppliers and staff, which will affect the operations of factories. “
“The online market is giving us a tough time and if we are not allowed to operate, they will damage us more because we are losing our capital and our savings,” he added.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said the nation’s capital had registered around 900 new cases of Covid in the past 24 hours and that if new infections continued to decline, more activities would be allowed to s ‘open in the city. Responding to traders’ requests, he said: “I can understand their difficulty, but they have to be patient and not rush. We also want their markets and stores to open. As the situation gets under control, we’ll open everything up. “
The Confederation of All Indian Traders (CAIT) had suggested on Saturday that stores be allowed to open gradually while separating working time for different verticals of Delhi’s commerce.