The Retailers Association of India (RAI) has written to Deputy Commissioner (DC) Srinagar, urging him to consider the operation of shops and malls seven days a week with strict adherence to the guidelines issued to prevent the deadly virus from spreading.
The letter sent by Gautam Jain, Director–Finance & Advocacy, RAI to DC Srinagar Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, a copy of which lies with a local news agency, Kashmir News Observer (KNO), reads that “we are writing to you regarding the daily operations of shops in Srinagar. While the orders permit daily operations of shops, members have informed us that they are allowed to open shops only 3 days a week in certain areas in Srinagar.”
The letter added that due to the lockdown, “retailers and malls owners are facing huge setbacks in terms of payment of wages and rentals due to the extended lockdown”. It further read: “The closure of businesses has severely impacted the cash flows of the retailers who were already in a state of severe financial duress. Continuing with it could lead to insurmountable job losses, giving a severe blow to the economy.”
It added that creating a safe shopping experience is much easier in malls and organized retail shops, since they have trained staff who are following all SOPs to ensure the safety of the customers. “Restricted opening of shops is not only causing loss of business, but is also detrimental to social distancing,” the letter added.
“Hence, we recommend that organized retail shops & malls should be allowed to operate 7 days a week with strict guidelines which will serve a fourfold purpose including providing for consumer needs; ensuring social distancing by distributing customers overall days of the week; generating revenue for businesses and state government; and restoring a sense of near-normalcy, which is the need of the hour in the state,” the RAI’s letter to DC Srinagar, a copy of which has been sent to Chief Secretary BVR Subramaniam as well.
Meanwhile, the core member of RAI from Kashmir, Farhan Kitab told KNO that the traders whose shops are located in commercial Hub Lal Chowk from Hari Singh High Street to Polo View have suffered huge losses.
“The traders at present are being allowed to operate only three days a week. We should be allowed to operate seven days a week with strict guidelines,” Mr. Kitab said, adding anyone found violating the guidelines should be dealt with strictly as per the law. (KNO)