Retailers Association of India (RAI) on Monday urged the Maharashtra government to allow the reopening of malls and multiplexes immediately, stating that any further delay would "spell doom for businesses and employees associated with malls".
The retailers' body said the capacity of malls and retail businesses in the state to bear any further losses is over as they continue to incur expenditures such as electricity charges, property tax, other taxes and license fees during the closure period while revenues have remained zero.
These businesses have been shut following the devastating second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India earlier this year.
"The (Maharashtra) state government's attempts to return the state to normalcy in stages is appreciable. However, we hope they restart malls and multiplexes immediately as any further delay in doing so will spell doom for businesses and employees associated with malls," RAI CEO Kumar Rajagopalan said in a statement.
He further said, "During the prolonged closure, malls and retail businesses have continued to pay electricity charges, property tax, and various other taxes and license fees, despite zero revenues. Now their capacity to bear any further losses is over." According to RAI, there are more than 50 malls in Maharashtra which employ over 2 lakh people. Together they generate a business of Rs 40,000 crore and contribute Rs 4,000 crore in GST, per month.
On average, a mall has 200 retail stores operating in it and over 5,000 business entities associated with it as suppliers and vendors, RAI added.
Rajagopalan expressed hope that "better sense prevails at the chief minister's meeting with the task force and malls are allowed to operate".
"This will not only help save employment but will also pave the way for citizens to shop in a safe and sanitised environment," he added.