Retail traders including shops and department stores have taken a serious objection against the revised lockdown guidelines issued by the Centre and the Maharashtra government allowing the distribution of even non-essential products by the e-commerce companies from April 20 onwards.
The traders under the aegis of the Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association said the government decision was a big blow as it will do irreparable damage to the retail traders and threaten their existence especially during the coronavirus crisis and thereafter.
There are in all 6 crore shops and department stores of which 15 lakh are in Maharashtra alone. The Federation president, Viren Shah, told FPJ, “To our utter surprise, the government has forgotten the sacrifice of the business community and permitted online companies to start distribution of non-essential products, which will be grossly unfair for shop-owners and their families.
In Maharashtra alone, more than 15 lakh shop-owners have shut down their businesses during the lockdown, but it has resulted in unemployment of more than 1 crore workforce.’’
He said the govt should not allow the e-commerce to sell non-essentials till the lockdown is lifted. Shah argued the govt’s move to allow ecommerce firms to distribute non-essential products would create uneven playing field as it will make the survival difficult of shops and department store owners. He argued because of lockdown the retailers have huge unsold stock and they are worried about its disposal.
“With online companies selling non-essential products, the retail traders will incur further loss as they will be unable to clear their pending stock,’’ he noted.
State NCP spokesperson Sanjay Khodke in a letter to the Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who holds department of finance and planning, has appealed not to grant permission for e-commerce companies to sell non-essential products. “
Therefore, the retail traders should be allowed to reopen their shops and sell nonessential products. Allowing e-commerce companies will further create hardships for the retail traders, shops and department stores. The govt should reconsider its decision,’’ he opined.