Pune: The Pune Municipal Corporation has once again landed in controversy as city-based traders and shop owners have pointed out the civic body’s bias while taking decisions about the relaxations being granted to businesses in the city. The PMC has asked all shops to close by 7pm and strict implementation for the same has been ensured. On the other hand, the same PMC has allowed hotels, bars and malls to stay open till 10 pm.
With the upcoming festive season like Navratri, Dussehra and Diwali, the traders are upset and disappointed with the PMC’s faulty decision making. The PMC claims that shops are being asked to close early in order to prevent unnecessary crowding at shops, but fails to justify its decision of allowing bars, hotels and malls to remain open till 10pm.
As a result, shops and traders dealing with essential commodities like grocery, vegetables, fruits, cloths and electrical items, spare parts of vehicles, general stores and even jewellery stores are allowed to be functional till 7pm. Most of the people step out for shopping after they return home from the office. So they are getting very less time for shopping and hence it is impacting the small businesses heavily.
One of the grocery store owner on the condition of anonymity said, “From last six months, we are following each and every rule which are imposed by the administration. 7 pm to 9 pm is the peak time of business where people who return from office does some shopping. With businesses suffering loss from past few days, this rule needs to be changed. I don’t find any logic that if restaurants and bars are allowed to operate till 10 pm why not other shops.”
The Federation of Trade Associations of Pune has questioned this move of the PMC. The Federation will soon discuss this issue with District Guardian Minister Ajit Pawar to seek relief from this diktat of the PMC.
Most of the traders are of the opinion that all shops should be allowed to stay open at least till 9pm. However, the PMC officials and political representatives in the city are non-committal on this issue.