In a major relief to traders struggling to resume their business during the pandemic, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has withdrawn a rule that allowed non-essential shops to operate only on alternate days during the ‘unlockdown’ phase.
In the first phase of the lockdown, all non-essential commodity stores had been closed down, while stores selling essential commodities were allowed to operate only for limited hours. Later, while implementing the ‘unlockdown’ norms as per the state government’s guidelines, the PMC had decided to allow non-essential commodity stores to operate on alternate days, to avoid crowding in marketplaces.
Traders’ associations, which had already incurred serious losses during lockdown, had objected to the norm, citing poor response of local residents. They had urged the civic body to withdraw the condition, and instead suggested two-day closure in a week for all such stores. However, authorities could not implement the two-day closure norm either, as there were no specific directions by the state government on doing so.
Municipal Commissioner Vikram Kumar had recently allowed malls in Pune to reopen, while continuing the restriction of alternate-day business for non-essential commodity stores. The traders’ associations had pointed out that if malls were allowed to do business on all days, they too should be allowed to operate.
Accepting their demand, Kumar issued them a permission to operate every day, stating, “The rules for opening non-essential commodity stores outside containment zones on certain conditions have been withdrawn now. The stores outside containment zones can do business on all days from 9 am to 7 pm”.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had also withdrawn its rule, of allowing non-essential commodity stores to operate on alternate days, on Monday.
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