Noida markets open to a tepid response on their first day – noida
Many markets in Gautam Budh Nagar district wore a deserted look on Thursday, the first day of relaxation for commercial activities in the district.
On Wednesday, the district administration had allowed shops to operate provided they followed the odd-even scheme (Each shop has a number given to them by their market association. Those with even numbers will open on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday while the rest will be open on all other days. On Sunday, all shops will be closed and will be sanitised) and social distancing protocol.
Meanwhile, the police commissionerate had made elaborate arrangements for the safety and security of the traders, who opened their shops after nearly two months.
GB Nagar commissioner of police (CP) Alok Singh said , “Flag marches with rapid action force (RAF) were conducted in different market areas of the district today. We also appealed to them to make sure their customers followed social distancing to check the spread of Covid-19. Our boys are also encouraging them to download the Aarogya Setu application on their mobiles,” he said.
Manish Kumar, who runs a mobile shop in Atta Market, said that the first day passed in only cleaning the piles of the dirt accumulated during the lockdown period. “We have been asked to properly display the stipulated days of opening the shops. We have also been asked by the district administration to keep a detailed record of customer visiting the shops,” he said.
Kumar said very few customers came to his shop on Thursday. “Earlier, it was never less than 200 customers a day. But today, it was only four customers till 4 pm,” he said.
Echoing similar views, Dinesh Singh, who runs a restaurant in sector 63, said he received only two orders online. “With such a lukewarm response from the customers, it will be really hard to run this shop,” he said.
Sushil Kumar Jain, the president of sector 18 market association, said that they did not expect many customers for at least two weeks. “I think the traders need at least a week’s time to clean their shops and the surrounding areas. After that, they will also have to generate faith among the customers that shopping with precautions will not cause any infection to them,” he said.
GB Nagar traders suffered loss of over ₹200 crore during the lockdown, he said. “It’ll take at least a year to recover. The stocks left in our shops before the lockdown, are either outdated or have been destroyed by rats and cockroaches. Who’ll want to buy the clothes designed in February and March in May and June,” he said.
Jain also criticised the government for not providing any relief to the small and medium traders. “We had to bear the salaries of our staff, rents, property taxes, electricity and water bills, besides the mounting bank dues, in the lockdown period. But, what is really foxing the trading community is that not even a single penny was allocated for us in the much-hyped ₹20 lakh crore package (announced by the central government). But, we have high hopes of revival,” he said.
Meanwhile, according to the reports coming late, GB Nagar district magistrate Suhas LY, on Thursday evening, visited different markets in Noida, including Atta market in sector 18, Kanchanjanga Market in sector 50, Gijhor, Bhangel and Baraula. “The DM interacted with traders and customers at these places and asked them to strictly follow Covid-19 protocols. He also laid stress on ensuring complete sanitisation and safety measures,” the press release said.
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