COVID-19: Shops forcefully shut in Panvel, Kharghar; civic officials face protest

Around 200 shop owners staged protest on Tuesday morning in Kharghar and Panvel against the Panvel Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) decision of shutting down all shops except essential. Later police personnel used force to disburse the crowd. Now, union of businessmen will hold a meeting on Tuesday evening to decide the further course of action.

Around 11 am on Tuesday, officials from PMC along with police started sealing shops at sector 12 in Kharghar. Initially, shop owners opposed and they claimed that as per the new guidelines of lockdown, they can keep the shops open from 7 am to 8 pm from Monday to Friday.

Vijay Patil, president of Ekta Vyapari Sangh, Kharghar said that they are ready to follow the state government’s guidelines. But the local body is forcing us to shut the shops. “If our shops are closed again, we will not survive. It is impossible to pay even rent and staff salary,” said Patil. He added that PMC sealed many shops without no fault and charging Rs 50,000 to remove the seal. “When we protested the decision, they used police force on us,” alleged Patil.

COVID-19: Shops forcefully shut in Panvel, Kharghar; civic officials face protest

Sudhakar Deshmukh, municipal commissioner of PMC said that they are following the state government’s guidelines. “I came to know about the protest. But our officials are just following the guidelines,” said Deshmukh. He added that it is mentioned in the circular that all shops, malls, shopping complex exclusing essentials will be closed.

Meanwhile, Ekta Vyapari Sangh will hold a meeting on Tuesday evening to decide the course of action.

Even under the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) area, shops were shut down by the civic body. Most of the shops in different nodes were closed and only essential shops are allowed. NMMC issued a fresh guideline on Monday night.

Meanwhile, the autorickshaws who were plying on sharing basis have increased the fare as they are claiming that they are incurring losses. As per the RTO, only two persons are allowed in autorickshaw.

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