BHOPAL: The Bhopal collector on Wednesday permitted the markets to remain open till 9 pm, however, the decision failed to amuse the traders who terming the relaxation as paper formality stated that it would reap no benefit to business class.

They argued that since night curfew comes in force sharp 9 in the evening, allowing shops to remain open till that very time serves no purpose.

Earlier, the shopkeepers were allowed to carry out their business till 8.30 as they were expected to reach their home before 9:00pm when the night curfew comes into effect. As per the Central guideline, the night curfew remains in force from 9pm-5 am and all movement, except emergency, are prohibited during the night hours.

Allowing half-an-hour time extension, the collector Avinash Lawania issued fresh orders permitting traders to operate their establishment till 9.00 pm. The change in timing doesn’t change anything for us rather there are chances that we might end up violating the curfew norms, maintained traders. Keeping the market closure deadline same as the beginning of the curfew hour gives us hardly any time to reach home safely before the curfew begins, they argues.

So we will have no option but to pull down the shutters much before nine even when we are allowed to operate till 9 pm, said a shopkeeper at New Market.

Akhil Bharatiya Vyapar Mandal Mahasangh general secretary Anupam Agrawal said, “ Extension of shops closing timing by half-an hour, may be problematic for the traders to adjust the timing just because of night curfew which starts from 9:00pm to 5:00pm. Traders may face fine over violation of curfew norms. Traders are allowed to operate till 9:00pm thereafter they will take some time in to wind up the business for the day and pull the shutter sown. By the time they drive back home, it would definitely anywhere past 9.30 pm, thus they would then be violating the curfew norm and liable for paying the penalty. Administration needs to look into this.”

New Market Traders Association general secretary Ajay Dewnani said, “Instead of obliging traders by allotting additional half-an hour, the administration should allow them to run their business all seven days in a week. Or at least they should be permitted to open the shops on Sunday. Extending timing by half-an-hour would provide no relief to the traders. Even the customer would not remain in market till 9 pm when they are aware that the night curfew would come in force from 9 sharp. So this time extension neither helps the traders not the consumers.”

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