As per a fresh directive issued by the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) on Saturday, textile trading markets in Surat will now remain open between 9 am and 7 pm, from June 8, and the odd-even rule for these shops to remain open has been removed. Additionally, persons above 65 years of age and children below 10 years of age will not be allowed to enter the markets as a precautionary measure.
A few days ago, Surat Municipal Commissioner Banchhanidhi Pani had given permission to the Federation of Surat Textile Traders Association (FOSTTA) for all shops in textile markets to remain open between 8 am and 4 pm. This was enforced with guidelines such as shops remaining open as per an odd-even pattern, maintaining social distance and the mandatory use of face masks and sanitisers.
However, FOSTTA members made a representation to Pani for the second time on Saturday, stating that only 40% of shops remained open due to the odd-even pattern. They also requested a modification in the operation timings, suggesting 9 am to 7 pm. After advising them to take precautions, the municipal commissioner agreed to the same, following which FOSTTA members issued a list of do’s and don’ts to the textile shops on Saturday afternoon.
The Indian Express obtained a copy of the FOSTTA guidelines, which stated that all the shops can now remain open from 9 am to 7 pm. Along with social distancing, customers, shopkeepers and labour staffers should compulsory use sanitisers and wear face masks. People over 65 years of age — including shop owners — and children below 10 years of age are banned from entering the market area. Market owners have to provide security staffers with thermal guns, so that they may test body temperatures of visitors. Shopkeepers staying in containment zones should refrain from coming to the market.
FOSTTA General Secretary Champalal Bothra said, “At present, 40% shops are open and no new work is going on. Owners are clearing old stocks and managing their payments. Majority of the dyeing and the printing mills are shut, very few are operational… Earlier, the trader would bring the cloth to the market area and deliver it to dyeing and printing mills. At present, we are bringing only finished fabrics on which embroidery work and value addition work is done… This will definitely reduce the traffic. Those shopkeepers who want to bring their finished goods, from the mills to the shops, should take permission from the market president.”
“Many shopkeepers and labourers are from Rajasthan and Punjab and they want to return and resume their businesses. We have requested the municipal commissioner that they should not be quarantined, if they are found healthy after a medical examination. We hope that it will take only another month to normalize the business,” he added.
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