Nikhila Pant Dhawan
Tribune News Service
Bathinda, August 27
The verdict against the Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh may have been announced on Friday but the ripples of the same will be felt by the traders and businessmen for days to come.
Owing to tensed situation and imposition of curfew, the markets have been lying closed.
Rajinder Raju, district president of the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, said, “As per rough calculations, the markets are reeling under losses to the tune of Rs 5-6 crore every day. The losses began not on Friday but a few days before that since people stopped stepping out, anticipating violence as Dera followers made their way to Panchkula.”
He added that even if the markets reopened from coming Tuesday, business would continue to be affected as the affect of what has happened in Panchkula will continue to haunt the customers and they would avoid going to crowded places such as markets, fearful of getting caught unawares in incidents of sporadic violence.
State president of Punjab Swarnkar Sangh, Kartar Singh Jaura, said this was the second big jolt to the jewellery traders after the imposition of GST.
“Starting July 1, the traders of gold were forced to pay three per cent GST on the yellow metal instead of one per cent VAT. That caused additional financial burden on the jewellers and a set back to the gold jewellery industry. The fallout of the Dera head verdict has broken the back of the jewellery trade as the festive season is all set to begin and the incidences of violence will resonate in the memories of the customers. They will think twice before stepping out of their houses,” he said.
Manoj Tangri, president of Dhobi Bazaar Traders Association, said despite the fact that for yesterday and today, curfew relaxations were announced for 12 hours, businesses still suffered.
“Over these two days as well, only grocery, medicine and other stores selling items of daily use registered sales. All other shops either didn’t open or didn’t do any business as there were no customers,” he said.
Rajinder Raju added that the state government and the High Court had asked the district administrations to gauge the extent of the loss and send a report so that the same may be compensated, but in calculating the losses, the administration will not count the loss suffered by traders.
“The government should devise some kind of mechanism to calculate the loss caused to traders in such situations and should compensate by way of tax relief for an equivalent number of days,” he stated.
Curfew relaxed, re-imposed
- Taking cognizance of the peaceful situation in the district, the curfew was relaxed for 13 hours in Bathinda, starting 9 am. It was, however, imposed again from 9 pm to 7 am. In the wake of the pronouncement of the quantum of punishment on the Dera head today, the district administration would take a call in case a law and order situation arises.
Educational institutions closed on Tuesday
- The district administration also announced that the schools and other educational institutions would remain closed on Tuesday as well to make sure that the students don’t get caught in any difficult situation.
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