Unlock 1.0 in Bhopal: Curbs and restrictions continue to hamper business of small traders, vendors

BHOPAL: While the administration has allowed the malls, big businesses houses and major markets to resume their business, the vendors, hawkers, small time traders continue to suffer due to curbs and restrictions.

While the major markets and malls have been allowed to remain open till 8 pm, the small time traders and vendors who operate on roadsides or move around the city do not enjoy such liberty even under unlock 1.0.

Bhopal has over 85,000 unregistered vendors, and they are among the worst lot being hit hard by the corona-enforced lockdown. Even as many restriction shave been lifted after unlock 1.0, these vendors continue to suffer with administration continuing with the restrictions on their operating in markets.

The small-time traders though have been allowed to resume their business activities; however, they too are facing a lot of hardships. Police and civic body staff often misbehave with us and also customers alleging us of flouting guidelines, alleged the traders. The restriction on number of customers inside shop is hampering the business as the visitors not ready to wait move to other outlets, they rued.

Ratnesh Upadhyay, an office bearer of vendors association said the vendors in other parts of the state are allowed to run their businesses but in the capital city and Indore, the administration has put several restrictions. The malls and other major markets are opened but the small time vendors continue to suffer, he said adding that they met the district administration and sought permission to allow vendors to resume their business.

Manoj Diwedi, president of Indira Market Association alleged that the shopkeepers were being harassed by police and the civic body. Shopkeepers are religiously following all the norms but on finding any customers flouting the guideline like not wearing masks, the cops and municipal staff often misbehave with the traders. They either impose fine on us or on our customer and this dissuades the customers from coming to shops, he added.

Santosh Jain, a trader at Jawarah Chowk said that the customers are not coming to shops because of restrictions. Only five persons are allowed at one time in bog shops, while customers keep away from small shops. The civic staff keep announcing about the guidelines and impose fine on people sans masks and those breaking the protocol, this too is discouraging the people to come out.

Surendra Nath Singh, former MLA, said the government should think about the vendors and small shopkeepers who could not make any living due to lockdown. He said he would meet the collector and apprise him of the plight of the these small time traders.

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