India

Chala, Palayam traders to open shops defying norms

Two weeks after the city Corporation temporarily cancelled the licences of Pothys hypermarket over alleged violations of COVID-19 protocols, it started functioning again on Tuesday after getting permission from the civic body to sell off perishable goods.

Though the hypermarket is yet to get its licence restored, for which it has submitted an application, it was able to open its doors to the public based on the temporary permission.

“The hypermarket was ordered to be closed due to the issue of crowding. After that, they had written to the Corporation saying that perishable goods of ₹3 crore are in stock and sought permission to dispose of this. We do not have an antagonistic attitude to any commercial establishment as long as they stick to the rules,” said Mayor K. Sreekumar.

The city Corporation had on July 20 ordered the drastic action as they found that a person, who was advised to go in quarantine after the first round of tests, was working in the sales section when the officials visited the store. Ward councillor Vanchiyoor P. Babu had said that the owners of the shop were not sending all the employees for tests.

Meanwhile, the Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi has also said that shops in Chala and Palayam markets as well as at Killippalam and Powerhouse Road will start functioning from August 7, violating lockdown restrictions but adhering to COVID-19 protocols. The traders’ body has for the past few days been raising its voice against the alleged unscientific methods used in demarcating containment zones.

The Chala market has remained closed for the past 30 days, ever since COVID-19 positive cases were detected in the vegetable market.

Micro-level approach

The samithi said that this blanket lockdown had affected the livelihood of many people. The government should follow a micro-level approach by shutting down only those areas which were affected, rather than shutting down entire markets or large areas.

Since there had been no response to several memorandums submitted to the government and the district administration, they had been forced to violate the lockdown restrictions, the samithi said.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the samithi’s district committee here on Tuesday.

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