A delegation of Chamber of Associations of Maharashtra Industry & Trade (CAMIT) led by Dipen Agrawal ,President called upon Dr. Nitin Raut, Guardian Minister ,Nagpur and Cabinet Minister for Power, GoMH to upraise him the difficulties faced by trade & industry of state in general and of Nagpur in particular and submitted a memorandum of suggestions on opening of economic activities in Maharashtra.
At the outset Dipen Agrawal praised the speedy steps taken by Government of Maharashtra and the commendable handling of the situation by administration to prevent Maharashtra from entering in the 3rd phase of pandemic.
The delegation, in the backdrop of lockdown 3.0 ending on 17th May 2020 and Prime Minister – Narendra Modi’s comments in his address to nation on 12th May 2020 that Lockdown 4.0 will be different from previous three; we have to protect ourselves, adopt safety measures and move forward, deliberated on how to start all round economic activities in Maharashtra post lockdown 3.0.
Dipen Agrawal informed Dr. Raut that there is a general feeling among the traders that lockdown is not a solution rather it is the window which gives time to administration to prepare itself with required medical and allied facilities for taking epidemic hand on hand. The impulse at grass-root level in market is to allow all activities permitted by Union Government so as to move forward following the prescribed standard operating procedure (SOP).
Girish Liladia eminent trade representative said that if State Government is of the opinion that it is in the interest of citizens that economic activities should be relaxed in calibrated and controlled manner then taking note of the fact that all industries have been permitted to operate, at the first instance the supply chain of industries i.e. raw-material and consumables (stores) should be restored which includes iron & steel, hardware, electrical, mill & machinery and tools & implements for continued and uninterrupted operations in factories.
Ashok Sanghvi, member CAMIT, said that endeavour should be made for opening shops dealing in goods, and services though non-essential in nature but are essential for farmers and persons at the bottom of pyramid like Ghonsi (Ghonghat) which is used by famers in place of raincoats for body protection while working in the fields during raining season; HPDE/LPDE Sheets which is used for protection of crops by farmers and by slum dwellers to cover the roof to protect themselves & their belongings from rain; and Green Net which is used by nursery and poultry farms to control/reduce the effect of direct sun light to protect plants and animals.
Santosh Kabra, President – Stone Merchant Association said that attempt should be made to open all integrated products simultaneously, that is to say that if construction activity is permitted then all allied shops like building material, sariya & cement, marble & tiles and sanitary should be opened.
Dinesh Sarda, Past President – Wholesale Cloth & Yarn Merchants Association, said that with shops for hosiery the shops for readymade garments and fabric/cloth merchants should be opened because they support and complement each other.
Ashok Ahuja, Past President – General Merchant Association said that it would have been a wise decision if along with stationary shops the shops of general merchants and shops for school books & paper would have been opened by administration.
Dipen Agrawal concluding the discussions said that whether a product is essential or not depends on the need of buyer, not on the nature of product. In today’s globalisation, business pattern has changed and some traders deal in exclusive items and some offer all similar goods & services under one roof, hence it is difficult to identify and priorities any particular segment or product. He suggested that without going in to the details of which item/goods is more essential or necessary as compared to other, all shops should be allowed to operate without any distinction on the basis of goods or services they deals in.
However acknowledging the genuine concern of administration regarding anticipated crowd/rush in market place, Dipen Agrawal said that the issue can be addressed by regulating shops by adopting measures such as
1) Fixing week days on which shops of particular area/zone can operate;
2) On lines of even-odd date parking on either side of the lane, shops on one side of the lane can be permitted to open on even dates and other side of the lane on odd dates;
3) Fixing before or after market hours for hawkers to earn their livelihood and prohibiting hawkers in market places during market hours;
4) Involving local market committees for community policing to ensure practice of social distancing & safety protocols in market and market complex.
Dipen Agrawal on behalf of trading community of Maharashtra thanked Dr. Nitin Raut for a patient hearing and assurance to take-up the matter on priority basis with Chief Minister and simultaneously with local administration to clear the air on prevailing confusion among the stake holders.