Tribune News Service
Patiala, May 5
Miffed at the state government’s directions of keeping shops and activities closed in view of the second wave of Covid pandemic, various market associations in the city announced they would keep all establishments dealing in essential and non-essential commodities open tomorrow. Shopkeepers held a protest for over two hours in support of their demands at the Anardana chowk in the city today.
Rakesh Gupta, president, Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, Patiala, said over 1,000 shopkeepers gathered at the chowk to demand that the government must allow opening of all kinds of shops in the city.
“The work and shops, which are termed non-essential, provide bread and butter to families of workers and owners. Many commodities are season based, which shopkeepers have stocked prior to the beginning of the summer season. Such shopkeepers will face huge losses if their shops are closed for now. So, tomorrow we will open all shops in the city,” Gupta added.
Other shopkeepers said, “We have not understood the ‘partial’ closure of markets. They consider those selling milk and dairy related items as essential, but not bakery shops. Our commodities are also perishable. They should allow us to sell products because not many people gather at our shops at a time. What is the distinction between essential and non-essential works when all shopkeepers have to earn livelihood.”
This is while the state government in continuation of orders issued earlier allowed opening of shops dealing in sale of fertilisers, pesticides, ‘kiryana’ and hardware items among others today.
The government has also allowed opening of wholesale and liquor vends, but kept ‘ahatas’ (taverns) closed. The orders further stated that the people would be allowed to venture out only on foot or on bicycle, but markets today witnessed a huge rush of commuters on two-wheelers at various places in the city.
Traders threatened that owners of shops, who were not allowed to open their establishments, would return their GST numbers if they were not able to do business.
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