Chandigarh, June 1, 2020-
While curbs were eased in Punjab and Haryana on Monday with an eye on revival of economy, small retailers and businessmen expressed anguish over fall in revenue due to lockdown.
Both the states announced extension of lockdown until June 30 with different sets of guidelines.
In line with the central government’s guidelines for ‘Unlock 1.0’, Punjab has ordered formulation of norms for reopening of hotels, other hospitality services, shopping malls, places of worship and restaurants for in-dining from June 8.
It also announced immediate reopening of shops, including liquor and barber outlets, beauty parlours and spas, in the non-containment zones.
Haryana has decided to reopen the restricted areas in a phased manner in accordance with provisions of the National Disaster Management Act and guidelines issued by the District Magistrates and other state departments.
In Punjab, on Monday there were no restrictions on either inter-state or intra-state movement of passenger vehicles, like taxis, cabs, stage carriers, tempo travellers and cars. Plying of bicycles, rickshaws and auto-rickshaws were also allowed.
In Haryana, inter-state and intra-state buses, taxis and cabs operated in accordance with the standard operating procedures (SOPs), officials told.
The movement of people in Punjab for all the non-essential purposes will remain banned between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. as per the Centre’s guidelines. District authorities have been asked to issue prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC and ensure strict compliance.
Shops in main markets will open between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m and liquor vends from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
In Haryana, there was no restriction on inter-state and inter-district movement of people and goods. Shops will remain open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Deputy Commissioner can, however, impose suitable restrictions in the congested markets as per their assessments.
Shops and business establishments reopened in most towns of both states, but the business activity was largely dull.
Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Badal expressed anguish over shopkeepers’ losses due to lockdown. “Whether it is sweet shop owners, electrical goods sellers or tailors, the pain and anguish of shopkeepers is visible. Business sentiment has never been so low,” he tweeted.
Badal said he visited markets in Bathinda to learn about their immediate needs. Shopkeepers were taking extra steps to follow Covid-19 protection norms, he added.
An anguished shopkeeper in Karnal, Haryana, said small retailers had been hit hard by the over two-month-long lockdown. “Our business has been severely impacted. The Centre has announced no package for small shopkeepers,” said Naresh Chaudhary, a grocery owner. (Agency)