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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Mumbai: Confusion and uncertainty grips unorganised sector as night curbs are enforced

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni had concluded hearing and reserved its ruling last month.

Written by Jayprakash S Naidu | Mumbai |
Updated: April 5, 2021 10:25:27 pm
At Crawford market, Owaiz Fruitwala (31) who runs a leather products shop said, “The crowd in the market is 50 per cent of the usual crowd. Business is badly affected. It will be very bad for our business, as we are wholesalers." (Representational)

The mood of many hawkers and small shopowners, hours before Monday night’s restrictions kicked in the city, was filled with trepidation, uncertainty and fear as many people employed in the unorganised sector did not know what work they would get in the next 30 days, saying they are planning to return to their home states. An order issued by the Maharashtra government on Sunday stated that all shops, except those providing essential services, will remain closed in Mumbai from 8 pm on Monday.

At the Dadar market, Dharmendra Sharma (45) from Bhadohi, who sells earphones on streets said, “I earn Rs 250 on a good day and on a bad day, I earn Rs 100. I live on rent in Kurla and my family stays in the village. I had no work for right months last year, and I went back home and did farming. I had borrowed money and still have to pay debts. I cannot bear it anymore, but what can I do ?”

The total impact of the state government’s new orders, which were to kick in from Monday at 8pm, were yet to be felt by most street vendors. However, many complained their clientele had dipped by 50 per cent on Monday.

At Crawford market, Owaiz Fruitwala (31) who runs a leather products shop said, “The crowd in the market is 50 per cent of the usual crowd. Business is badly affected. It will be very bad for our business, as we are wholesalers.”

At the market, Dharmendra Burma (25), a food stall owner from UPs Bahraich said, “Police was asking us to stop the work from today itself. We begged them to allow us to operate today. Tomorrow I have thoughts of going back home or I may wait for some days to see if we get any relief.”

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Mohamed Fazal (40) owner of the bag-selling New Badshah shop at Crawford market said, “There were less people today. From Tuesday, our shops will be shut. We have suffered huge losses. The lockdown is not desirable. We will have to learn to live with Covid-19. We did not fire any of our five employees, nor did we cut their salary, but now we may have to now.”

Apart from the major markets in Dadar and CST areas, there were less crowds seen at major malls like the High Street Phoenix mall in Lower Parel.

A ticket checker at a cinema inside the mall said, “Some shows were cancelled today as less people had come. There were some 50-60 people altogether in four-five screens.” Some electronic shops at the mall closed before 6 pm due to less or no customers. A salesman from a branded clothes store at the mall said, “They had cut our salary by 30% last year. Then our salary was revised and decreased by almost 50%. As of today, we have no clarity on whether we will have jobs or will get a salary this month.”

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