Health workers collecting swab samples from a person for COVID-19 testing at India Gate in New Delhi on Sunday
Health workers collecting swab samples from a person for COVID-19 testing at India Gate in New Delhi on Sunday

The Delhi government has withdrawn the order to close two evening markets in Nangloi in west Delhi for violation of COVID-19 safety measures.

The Punjabi Basti Market and Janta Market in Nangloi were closed till November 30 through an order of the West Delhi District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) CEO and ADM and sealing action was taken by teams of district officials backed by municipal corporation and police personnel on Sunday.

The district authorities, accompanied by police and NDMC teams, conducted inspection to ensure the closure of the markets and removal of encroachments in both the markets. Over 200 vendors dealing in various daily use items used to set up shops in the markets that opened in the evening hours daily.

However, the order for closure was withdrawn hours later as the Delhi government proposal for regulation of markets amid the pandemic is pending with the Centre.

"The order for closure of market has been withdrawn because a proposal of Delhi government for regulation of markets in view of COVID-19 surge is pending with the Central government. The district officials can take action against individuals for violation but cannot seal an entire market," said a senior government officer.

Subhash Bindal, General Secretary of Shukar Bazar Market Association, Nangloi Market said, "The order was withdrawn last night. Copy of the official order is awaited."

"It was wrong to seal the market. All norms were being followed here. They had sealed it on the basis of the crowd on the main road near the market," he added.

Amid a spurt in COVID-19 cases in Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had last week sought power from the Centre to impose restrictions in those markets which may emerge as COVID-19 hotspots.

The chief minister had in an interaction with market associations on Friday last had said that his government does not wish to shut any market.

"Met representatives of market associations. I removed their anxieties -- the government does not wish to shut any market. They assured anyone not wearing a mask in the market will be provided a free mask by market asssociation. All shops will also be asked to keep spare masks and hand sanitisers," Kejriwal had tweeted.

He had also said market associations can play an important role in the fight against COVID-19.

Delhi has been reeling under a third wave of coronavirus and has reported a death rate of 1.58% as compared to the national fatality rate of 1.48%.

Experts attribute the high number of daily COVID-19 deaths in the national capital to a large number of "critical" non-residents patients coming to the city for treatment, unfavourable weather, pollution and better "reporting and mapping" of fatalities.

They say the easing of restrictions has exposed the vulnerable population, such as the elderly and those having comorbidities, to the deadly virus.

The national capital has reported 40,212 active cases, 4,81,260 recoveries and 8,391 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare`s (MoHFW) update on Monday.

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Free Press Journal