BHOPAL: Most of the traders had reached their shops on Tuesday, with a slight confusionóbut still with the hope that they would resume their businesses. They were confused over the order of the administration where a few businesses were allowed to run, while others were restricted. They had the hope that, once they reached the markets, they would be allowed to open shops.
Their confusion was cleared and hopes fizzled out once they did reach the markets, however. They were informed that their shops would be sealed if they tried to raise their shutters. A few shopkeepers had even opened their establishments, but, soon, they closed shop.
The city was unlocked after 50 days and these traders had the hope that, once they reached the markets, they would be allowed to run their businesses.
On the day, there were fewer customers in the market and more commuters on the roads. The markets resumed their operations with 10 per cent to 30 per cent of the shops opening in all the areas of Bhopal. Even in the areas where shops were opened in the morning, they were closed after a few hours because of fear that they might be fined and also since there were no customers in the market.
All the shopkeepers staged a protest in the Old City and held talks with officials of the district administration seeking to open their establishments. In the Old City areas, shopkeepers of different categories, including readymade garments, Sarafa, artificial jewellery, hardware and cosmetics, reached the markets. However, they did not open shops and staged a sit-in in front of their shops.
Later, they all held a meeting with the administration officials and demanded that they be allowed to run their business. They also had started drawing circles in front of their shops to maintain social distancing.
In such Old City markets as Jumerati, Loha Bazaar, Somwara and the adjoining areas, fewer than 20 per cent of the shops could be opened due to restrictions. Similarly, out of 1,280 shops at New Market, fewer than 120 shops could be opened.
In Bairagarh, the markets of garments and utensils remained closed and fewer than 150 shops were opened on the day. Bairagarh is a major wholesale market of garments and utensils. A trader, Rakesh Agrawal, said that they had held talks with the officials saying they should also be allowed to run their shops. He said there were nearly 8,000 employees working in the markets of the Old City areas and it was a question of their livelihood.
Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) imposed spot fines on shopkeepers and customers for violation social distancing
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)