Domestic traders body CAIT on Saturday welcomed the Delhi government’s decision to allow markets to open from Monday but opposed the ‘odd-even formula’, claiming that it does not suit the business character of the city. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday announced further relaxations in the lockdown, and said Delhi Metro will operate at 50 per cent capacity and markets and malls in the national capital will open on an odd-even basis from June 7.
“The odd-even formula is never suited for the business character of Delhi because being the largest distribution centre of the country, Delhi has a totally different business format where one trader is dependent upon the other for procurement of goods and in many cases, both these format of trade will adopt different day for opening the shops due to the odd-even formula,” said Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT). “It would have been better if the Delhi government would have adopted staggered timings between different markets of Delhi,” he suggested.
In its earlier letter to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and Kejriwal, the CAIT had suggested staggered timings for the wholesale markets — 10 am to 4 pm — and 12 pm to 7 pm for retail markets. The Delhi government had first imposed a complete weekly lockdown on April 19 which was later extended multiple times, last on May 23. The Delhi government allowed manufacturing and construction activities to resume operation from May 31. According to the CAIT, the decision would add to the confusion, especially for the consumers, as they would come for shopping in the markets “without knowing whether the shop from which they intend to purchase” would be open or not due to the enforcement of the odd-even rule.
Asking the government to reconsider its decision of odd-even opening of markets and opt for “staggered timings” instead, the traders body criticised the AAP-led government for not consulting trader associations before taking the decision. “It will be a satisfaction that shops are open but in reality how much business activities will take place will be (any)one’s guess,” it said in a statement. “The Delhi government should have consulted the trade associations before taking decisions on odd-even formula. It is highly regretted that the champion of peoples’ advice, Mr. Kejriwal, has not held consultation any prominent association which shows his scant respect for Delhi trade,” they added.