Thane: After the state government came up with a new rule from June 1, allowing non-essential shops to start from 7 am to 2 pm. On the very first day people reached the market and a crowd was seen shopping across the suburbs.
Meanwhile, associations running non-essential shops in Thane and Kalyan demand the Thane collector to change the timing for non-essential shops from 9 am to 5 pm as it's not flexible for shopkeepers as well as the customers who drop-in during the closing time.
Mitesh Shah, President of Naupada Vyapari Mandal, who owns an electronic gadget shop confirmed about the letter given to the Thane collector. The Vyapari Mandal of Thane was joined by Bharatiya Janata Party MLC Niranjan Davkhare. "We are happy that the state government has taken a move and allowed the non-essential shops almost after imposing a lockdown for two months. Shopkeepers opening the shops will think about the profit. But will think and earn to pay the debt they are in," said Shah who claims the experience on the first day was completely different.
"As per the protocol the non-essentials shopkeepers open the shop at 7 am. But customers started coming after 12 pm and at the closing time forcing the shopkeeper to open. Usually, customers come shopping for jewellry, clothes, and electronic items late in the afternoon or evening. Even if retailers are opening the shop on the given time it should match the flexibility of the customer. Else, due to the customer the shopkeeper has to bear the fine from the authorities," added Shah.
Harshad Shah, a cloth merchant from Kalyan, said: "The timing given by the authorities is when people are busy buying essential products. Until the customer comes for shopping we have to close the shop. Also, with the monsoon started, business is slow. The flexible timing will increase the footfall and bring the shopkeepers out of debt. Forget about last year, which all shopkeepers suffered. This time too many of them had to pay the rent for two months without any business, where would small and new shopkeepers bear the expenses from," added Harshad.