BHOPAL: Business activities have dropped by 20 per cent in the past one month following an increase in the number of active Covid-19 cases in Madhya Pradesh. Market experts said that a slump is being witnessed in the market, trade and retail businesses. A fresh surge in the number of coronavirus cases has affected the textile and fashion industry. Retailers continue to grapple with low footfalls in stores and malls despite the eventual easing of curbs. The Federation of Madhya Pradesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FMPCCI), however, maintains that trade has been affected, but industries are continuing with their businesses as usual in the state.
The Confederation of All-India Traders (CAIT) believes that the decision of cancelling local fairs will hit the traders who were looking forward to making some money.
Kalpataru Multipliers Limited MD Adityamanya Jain said, “Increase in Covid cases has started affecting businesses in Madhya Pradesh and the same is happening in other states. The textile and share markets and other sectors are seeing the impact from the surge in Covid-19 cases. The economy was coming back on track after the Covid-19 induced lockdown was lifted, but fresh cases have again pushed it back. The police impose a fine of Rs 500 on two-wheelers riding without masks, but why are pedestrians moving about without masks not being penalized?"
CAIT state president Bhupendra Jain said, “The impact of the rise in the number of coronavirus cases has started reflecting on business activities. If any fair is curtailed, or cancelled, it directly affects business. The Gwalior Trade Fair, for instance, is supposed to last till April 15, but the manner in which Covid-19 cases are rising, the fate of the fair hangs in the balance. All Mahashivaratri fairs scheduled in districts bordering Maharashtra have been cancelled.
Thok Bazaar Vyapari Mandal general secretary Anupam Agawal said, "The markets are seeing a rush during the evening hours, as such festivals as Mahashivaratri and Holi are round the corner. And then, the coming wedding season will give a boost to the market. However, if coronavirus cases continue to swell and people fail to adhere to the Covid guidelines, such as wearing masks and maintaining social distancing, the situation may worsen and it'll adversely affect business activities. Things were very much under control during the corresponding period last year. So, customers, as well as traders, need to ensure strict adherence to the protocols.
FMPCCI president RS Goswami said, “Retail trade has been affected, but industries, by and large, are functioning as usual as industrial units are taking all the required precautions and ensuring strict enforcement of Covid health protocols. But, no doubt, a fresh surge in coronavirus cases has impacted trade, retail sales and markets in Madhya Pradesh as in other states.”