Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's announcement of developing a portal giving traders and shopkeepers of Delhi a wider reach for their business evoked mixed responses with some terming it a unique idea and others being apprehensive about its practicality and the fate of the city's markets.
Popular markets in the national capital such as Khan Market and Lajpat Nagar will get a wider domestic and global reach with the Delhi government preparing a portal, 'Dilli Bazaar', that will provide traders and shopkeepers with a platform to display their products and transact business, Kejriwal said on Wednesday.
The umbrella portal encompassing all famous shops and their products in the city is hoped to be ready by August next year, he said.
Chairman of Chamber of Trade and Industry (CTI) Brijesh Goyal hailed the idea and said the move will benefit the business fraternity of the city.
''It is a very unique move which will benefit businessmen across different trades in Delhi. Now they will have a dedicated virtual government platform where they can push e-commerce-based shopping other than managing customers at their shops,'' Goyal told PTI.
The portal will also have virtual markets where people can go through shops, identify products of their choice and buy them. It will also host virtual exhibitions.
Goyal also said the 'Dilli Bazaar' portal will take Delhi's markets beyond the city boundaries and to the nook and corner of the country and abroad. ''It will broaden the horizon of the market as not only Delhi people but any potential buyer in any corner of the country can search popular markets in Delhi and do shopping. It will enhance the shopping experience of buyers,'' he said.
However, some traders stressed that the government should focus on improving the ground situation of markets first and then come up with such ideas.
Chandni Chowk Sarva Vyapar Mandal president Sanjay Bhargava said the government should focus on upgrading the infrastructure of markets across the city. In Chandni Chowk, the market was revamped but squatters, encroachments are back and the chaos is still there, he said.
''It (Dilli Bazaar portal) is a funny idea. The government should improve the infrastructure of markets and high streets which are in a very pathetic condition all over Delhi. Shopping and window shopping are fun activities for people. The government should not stop such social activity and get people of Delhi caged in homes,'' Bhargava said.
President of Sadar Bazar Traders Association Devraj Baweja claimed this initiative of the government will not benefit the trader fraternity as it will be no different from the existing online shopping portals.
''This move will kill city markets. We are already troubled due to online shopping. If the online portal idea is executed, it will only hamper our businesses.
''Individual shop owners in every market have already started selling their items online through Instagram or their website. So it will not benefit traders. The government should have taken views from market associations before any such move,'' Baweja said.
Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) General Secretary Praveen Khandelwal echoed similar concerns and termed the announcement a 'lofty statement' by the chief minister. ''It feels good to listen and imagine. But there are doubts about how successful or viable will this move be. Many markets in the city lack basic amenities such as hygienic toilets for women and potable water. Traders of the city should have been consulted before announcing such facility,'' Khandelwal said.
(With inputs from PTI)
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