CAIT urged PM Modi not to impose night curfew or lockdown
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Sunday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to impose night curfew or lockdown amid rising instances of COVID-19 in the country and instead adopt a staggered working time for different sectors. In a letter to the Prime Minister, the traders’ association said it would be more appropriate if alternate measures may be adopted at district levels all over the country.
“Instead of night curfew or lockdown which have not proved a worthy step so far to combat the escalation of COVID-19, it would be more appropriate if alternate easy measures may be adopted at district levels and staggered working time set for different sectors,” said CAIT.
CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said that a closer analysis of the COVID-19 statistics over the last one week has made it amply clear that night curfew and lockdown in different states have not brought the desired results of bringing down the cases. It suggested that working hours of different verticals of trade and commerce should be revised.
No person without a mask should be allowed to enter any market. Even if a passerby or visitor is seen not wearing masks, the traders may immediately ask the said person to wear the mask.
“We suggest that government offices, private offices and other all kinds of offices may work from 8 am to 2 pm whereas the markets and shops may be allowed to work from 11 am to 5 pm,” said CAIT.
In a communication to PM Modi, the CAIT National President B C Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said that a closer analysis of the COVID statistics over the last one week has made it amply clear that night curfew and lockdown in different states have not brought the desired results of bringing down the cases. On the 5th of April, India reported 96,563 positive cases out of which high surge states reported respective numbers – Maharashtra (47,228), Delhi (3548), Gujarat (3160), Punjab (2692), Karnataka (5279) and Chhattisgarh (7302). Since then Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat, Punjab, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh have all imposed various restrictions like night curfew & lockdown beginning with 5th April in Maharashtra, followed by Delhi, Gujarat and Punjab on 6th April, followed by Karnataka & Chhattisgarh. As of 9th April, India reported 1,45,384 positive cases which is a 50% increase from 5th April, the day restrictions were announced. Maharashtra reported 58993 cases on 9th April which is 25% higher than the day lockdown was announced by the State Government. Similarly, Gujarat (4541) & Delhi (8521) a steep rise of 43% and a staggering 140% respectively. States like Punjab 3459 (28%), Chhattisgarh 11447 (56%) and Karnataka 7955 ( 50%) have also reported a significant spike despite the curbs.
CAIT leaders said that the above statistics establish the fact that instead of night curfew or lockdown, other alternative available measures can be adopted so that chances of contraction among the people can be minimised. Both trade leaders have suggested that clamping lockdown is certainly not a solution since trade and commerce is still struggling to recover from the losses of the previous lockdown of 2020. On the one side, effective steps are needed to stop the increase in COVID cases whereas, on the other hand, the economic and commercial activities should also continue by observing COVID safety protocols in a strict manner. They suggest that working hours of different verticals of trade and commerce should be revised and in this context, we suggest that Government offices, private offices and other all kinds of offices may work from 8 am to 2 pm whereas the markets and shops may be allowed to work from 11 am to 5 pm, banks and other financial institutions may be allowed to work from 9 am to 3 pm. Likewise, clock timings can be set for other forms of businesses and other professional activities. Such staggered timings will reduce human traffic to a great extent.
Bhartia and Khandelwal further said that being the first point contact of total population of the country, the trade associations all over India can play a vital role in checking the increase of COVID and helping the Government for encouraging the people to follow COVID instructions sincerely and religiously. Accordingly, they suggested that local administration in each city should be advised to formulate a joint strategy with local trade associations for keeping strict observance of COVID safety protocols in the markets and on the roads, like wearing masks and face shields, sanitising of hands repeatedly and maintaining social distance. The associations may be advised to keep extra guards in their markets to check the visitors at each entry and exit point. No person without a mask should be allowed to enter any market. Even if a passerby or visitor is seen not wearing masks, the traders may immediately ask the said person to wear the mask.
Both trade leaders while stressing intensification of vaccination drives in full swing and suggested holding “special vaccination camps” at prominent places in each market where all eligible traders, their employees, customers and other people can be vaccinated by observing all vaccination protocols. The respective trade associations will be pleased to host such camps and the vaccination team as well. They have also said that wearing a mask is made mandatory by force of law as was done in the case of wearing helmets on two-wheelers and fastened seat belts in four-wheel drive. Such a law will help a lot in combating COVID from further escalation. CAIT leaders suggested that to fight with the COVID pandemic, a district-wise strategy should be made and a district-level COVID Task Group may be formed under the Chairmanship of District Collector and comprising of officials of all concerned Departments and representative of trade & commerce and Resident Welfare Associations. Such steps will prove to be more effective in combating Covid cases.
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