By Mohammad Suaib Khan
NEW DELHI: The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has slammed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for not consulting the traders of the national Capital before sending a proposal seeking permission from the Centre to close markets here in a bid to curb the sudden surge in Covid-19 cases since last week.
The CAIT has opposed the closing of markets in New Delhi proposed by the Aam Aadmi Party government.
There is trade nearly worth Rs 700 crore per day in Delhi, of which Rs 500 crore trade takes place through goods sent to the people residing in other states. Delhi is the largest business distribution centre in the country.
The traders’ body on Tuesday said the state government should have taken them into confidence before sending off the proposal to the Centre or before taking any such decision.
“On the issue of coronavirus, CAIT had sent letters to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in September, August, July, June, April and March, offering help and support by the traders and had asked for an appointment to meet him but the Delhi CM did not revert to the letters even once,” said CAIT National General Secretary, Praveen Khandelwal.
CAIT has called Kejriwal’s decision “flawed”, saying, “The spike in the spread of Covid-19 pandemic in Delhi is a matter of concern for everyone and to prevent it traders have many a time offered their support to the Delhi Chief Minister. However, Kejriwal did not consider it appropriate to talk to the traders even once.”
“Closing the market is not a solution to fight the spread of Covid pandemic but it’s more important to strictly follow the government’s Covid safety guidelines in the markets.
As far as the traders are concerned, all of them are running their shops, complying with the Covid safety norms. But the people who visit the markets are careless about following the requisite norms.
“The Delhi traders are ready to cooperate with the government but it has to work at every level for better functioning of the markets and making mere tall claims will never benefit the people of Delhi,” he added
According to CAIT, there are nearly 3,500 big and small markets and more than 4,000 traders’ organisations in Delhi of which nearly 2,000 are fully active.
The safety guidelines related to Covid-19 can be enforced with the help of all the trade organisations in Delhi. However, a concrete plan is needed to fight the infection on a war footing. All trade bodies in Delhi are ready and eager to cooperate with the government.
“CAIT sent a letter on November 17 to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and Union Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on the issue of closure of markets in Delhi, urging them to consult the trader community across Delhi before taking any such decision,” Khandelwal said.
“Whatever decision the Central government takes the traders in Delhi will accept it,” Khandelwal, though added.