88% traders believe mkts should be shut

New Delhi: The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Saturday sought a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Health Minister Dr Harshvardhan, Delhi LG Anil Baijal and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal to discuss the concerns of Delhi traders on the fast-deteriorating COVID-19 crisis. A survey conducted by the CAIT showed that around 88.1 per cent of traders thought markets should be shut down completely to restrict the spread of the highly contagious disease.

Around 99.4 per cent of traders surveyed agreed that the number of COVID-19 cases was rising in the Capital while 92.8 per cent said that since markets are open, cases can be expected to surge through there as well. Around 92 per cent of surveyed traders felt that Delhi's medical facilities are insufficient to meet the rising demands of COVID-19 positive patients.

CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said that the CAIT had sought the opinion of Delhi Trade Associations through an online survey whether or not Delhi markets are in a position to remain open in the wake of the rapid increase in cases.

This came in the backdrop of the Supreme Court taking cognizance of the "horrendous, horrific and pathetic" state of affairs in government hospitals of Delhi and other states. Khandelwal said that the CAIT has sought an opinion from 2,800 Trade Associations and prominent trade leaders of Delhi, of which 2,610 responses have come in.

President of CAIT's Delhi Chapter, Vipin Ahuja said that the CAIT will hold a virtual meeting with leaders of prominent trade associations on Sunday afternoon where the survey report will be shared and the trade leaders will make a decision on whether or not to keep Delhi markets open.

Khandelwal said that on the basis of the results, the Confederation will decide whether the shops should be closed and what the way forward would be. "The final decision will be taken after consultations with Delhi traders as well as with the Central and state governments," he added.

The rapid spread of Coronavirus along with poor market performance has made it difficult for traders to pay rent, which is a heavy amount for all traders when the income through sales is almost negligible.

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