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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Mumbai: Day 1 of new curbs sees confusion among shopkeepers; traders protest

While many complained that there was no clarity in the guidelines issued, some staged protests demanding that the rules be revised.

Written by Laxman Singh | Mumbai |
Updated: April 7, 2021 2:19:41 am
Mumbai: Day 1 of new curbs sees confusion among shopkeepers; traders protestA policeman orders shopkeepers to keep shops closed in Dombivli, on Tuesday. (Express photo by Deepak Joshi)

The first day of new curbs announced by the state government under its ‘Break The Chain’ guidelines saw confusion and protests from shopkeepers across Mumbai. While many complained that there was no clarity in the guidelines issued, some staged protests demanding that the rules be revised.

According to the guidelines that came into force from Monday 8 pm, shops other than those providing essential services will be shut till April 30. However, many non-essential shops opened on Tuesday morning in areas like Mohammed Ali Road, Worli, Hindmata, Dadar, Bandra, Kurla, Tilak Nagar and Borivali.

Following this, in many areas, police and BMC teams could be seen asking these shops to down shutters.

“There is no clarity in the guidelines. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has said that everything will be shut only on weekends. So, many shopkeepers from Dadar and Hindmata opened their shops in the morning. In the afternoon, police reached at some places and asked us to shut our shops. Nothing has been communicated to us by the local BMC offices,” said Deepak Deorukhkar, who runs a jewellery shop in Dadar and is a member of Dadar Vyapari Sangh.

“There is a lot of confusion. Almost all parts of the city witnessed such chaos. The BMC and the government should give clear guidelines,” he added.

In Kandivali, many non-essential shops had to be shut after the police reached. Similarly, Borivali West, near the railway station at Lokmanya Tilak Road, saw many shops open. “In the morning, almost all shops were opened. But after a few hours, the police came and started announcing that non-essential shops should be shut. But about a few hundred metres away, all shops were open and no action was taken,” said Vinay Jodhawat, a sales executive in a watch shop in Borivali.

Shopping hubs like Linking Road and Hill Road in Bandra West also saw confusion. “Some shops were open but after receiving complaints from local residents, police and BMC asked them to shut down. The BMC commissioner should have directed ward officers to communicate the new rules to the shopowners,” said Asif Zakaria, Congress corporator from Bandra.

Meanwhile, in many parts of the city, retail shopowners staged protests against the guidelines. “The new rules will shut down about 13 lakh shops in the state and nearly 3 lakh in Mumbai. There will be loss of wages and revenue.

Who will bear that loss? Many people will lose their livelihoods,” said Viren Shah of Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association.

At Dadar, some shops put up posters condemning the government for these guidelines. In Borivali, shopkeepers associated with Borivali East Vyapari Association staged a protest by holding posters demanding cancellation of the new curbs.

The posters read – “Corona se marenge kam, lockdown se marenge hum” and “Maharashtra me corona pahle khatam hoga ya vyapari”. Similar protests were seen at Mohammad Ali Road, Naupada and Mira-Bhayander.

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