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    Delhi traders consider voluntary lockdown as Covid cases spike

    Synopsis

    CAIT will hold a video conference with the leading traders of Delhi on Saturday and will take a final decision regarding the closure of markets on the basis of consensus among traders.

    The rapid spread of the Coronavirus in Delhi, projections of a big jump in the number of cases, along with weak business sentiment that makes it difficult to pay rent, has prompted demoralised shopkeepers to consider a voluntary lockdown, the country’s leading body of traders said.

    Traders are conducting an online survey of members and will take a call on the voluntary lockdown on Saturday.

    "Traders have become more fearful than before thanks to the present serious situation of corona pandemic in Delhi, coupled with the recent statement by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wherein he expressed the possibility of 5.32 lakh corona infection cases in Delhi by the end of July,” Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general of CAIT said.

    Maintaining social distancing was difficult in some crowded markets in old Delhi, said BC Bharatia, vice president, CAIT.

    Apart from the fear, traders are demoralised by the weak business sentiment.

    "Traders are not able to pay even the electricity bills. Everyone' morale is down and yet the government is insisting on keeping the markets open,” said Vipin Ahuja, who represents Delhi traders in the confederations.

    He said some markets like the jewellery market near Karol Bagh and parts of New Lajpat Rai Market had voluntarily decided to remain closed. “There is a problem of paying rent. Some traders from Tank Road market near Karol Baug have formed an union and decided that they will not pay the rent. The government has not given any relief to small trades," said Ahuja.

    He said shops are open in the city but business is down to 5%-10%.

    CAIT will hold a video conference with the leading traders of Delhi on Saturday and will take a final decision regarding the closure of markets on the basis of consensus among traders.
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    The Economic Times