Weekend lockdown will deal irreparable blow, reconsider move: Chandigarh traders

Weekend lockdown will deal irreparable blow, reconsider move: Chandigarh traders

Dushyant Singh Pundir

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16

Taken aback by the decision of the UT Administration to impose a weekend lockdown, the business community today said it would deal an irreparable blow to them.

“Traders are not happy with the decision on lockdown when neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab have not imposed it,” said Charanjiv Singh, president, Chandigarh Beopar Mandal.

He added that the UT Administration should reconsider its decision in the interests of the business community. Naveen Manglani, president, Chamber of Chandigarh Industries, said, “We are surprised at the UT move. Even in Delhi and Mumbai, the industry is not closed during lockdown. With SOPs in place, the industry should be allowed to operate like essential services.”

The manufacturing activity had just started limping back. The lockdown would be a big blow to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular and the whole economy in general, he added. “The production once lost cannot be recovered. Rather it has a rippling negative effect,” he said, adding that there would be loss of revenue, including GST, to the government.

Fearing loss of work force, he said longer shutdown could lead to migration of labour as well. Kamaljit Singh Panchhi, president, Chandigarh Traders Association, Sector 17, said the lockdown decision was not good for traders of the city. Last year, lockdown had proved as a jolt to the business community, he added. “We appeal to UT Administrator VP Singh Badnore to kindly reconsider the decision and take on priority the interest of traders and announce some major relief schemes in their favour as they have suffered the most during the pandemic,” he said.

In view of an abnormal increase in Covid-19 cases in the city, they had already decided to hold a free Covid testing camp in coordination with the UT Health Department for traders, their staff and family members, he said, and added that the association was also planning to organise a vaccination camp for traders.

Narinder Singh, a shopkeeper at Sadar Market in Sector 19, said the decision would badly impact the small shopkeepers as they get a good number of customers on Saturdays and Sundays. They were expecting a good sale during the marriage season, but it would ruin their business, he said, adding that instead of imposing weekend lockdown, the Administration should have strictly implemented the Covid-appropriate behaviour. Ankit Gupta, president, Chandigarh Hospitality and Hotels Association, said, “While the hands of the UT Administration are also tied, the hospitality industry in the current scenario will collapse. We appeal to the Chandigarh Administration to announce a relief package to our industry, considering that it is one of highest job generators and a major tax contributor.”

“The hospitality industry is staring at very bleak times. Many food and beverages units had pulled down shutters in the first Covid onslaught and we are afraid that some more would follow suit this time around. It must also be remembered that when hospitality industry suffers, many allied services, suppliers, transporters, employees and tax collection suffers too,” said Manmohan Singh, president, Chandigarh Hotels Association.

“At the same time, we do realise that nothing is above human life and our industry like many other institutions stands committed to community health,” association president Manmohan Singh added.

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