Mumbai: CAMIT calls lockdown curbs a ‘death warrant’

The Chamber of Associations of Maharashtra Industry and Trade (CAMIT) has written to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray protesting the new curbs announced on Sunday in the wake of the Coronavirus surge. They have called the order a ‘death warrant’ issued against the community.

It sought that private offices and shops, restaurants, bars, hotels, salons, gyms, spas be allowed to function from 7 am to 7 pm on weekdays and there be total lockdown on weekends. Alternatively, the letter signed by the association’s president Dipen Agarwal sought that the government compensate them for salary, rent and other expenses.

It said the order is a ‘backstabbing’ to the community and called it unjust and arbitrary, failing to address the core issue of containment of the pandemic. It questioned what emergency measures the government had taken last year as this order claimed it was expedient to enable it to take these emergency measures. It further asked why the government had adopted a ‘chalta hai’ attitude after the first wave of the virus had flattened.

Agarwal also pointed out that e-commerce businesses are categorized as ‘essential services’ in the order and there is no provision of a penalty if the delivery personnel of these businesses do not possess a negative RTPCR certificate. It called this double standard as one intended to promote MNCs and giants involved in e-commerce.

Further, it said that allowing the film industry to work is an undue show of favouritism. It also questioned the inoculation requirement mandated by the government to enable reopening. Pointing out that the vaccine is required to be taken in two doses six to eight weeks apart and the low current vaccination rate in the state, it said the curbs are nothing but penalty on traders for the failure of the central and state governments.

The letter also complained that the CM had consulted corporates before bringing the curbs, but not them. Agarwal said the true mitigation measure is not closure of shops, but ensuring that people who have tested positive for the virus, strictly confine themselves and increase random testing to identify asymptomatic cases.

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