New Delhi: The Chamber of Trade and Industry (CTI) on Monday (July 12) said market associations could not be held responsible for maintaining law and order when they didn’t have any legal authority. This was the responsibility of the police and the district administration. CTI raised an objection to the Delhi Disaster Management Authority’s (DDMA) orders putting the onus for controlling crowds in markets on their respective associations, a traders’ body wrote to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal
In recent weeks, several markets in Delhi have been shut by the DDMA due to the violation of Covid norms like maintaining social distancing. In its orders, the DDMA has said that it is the responsibility of the respective market associations to take all measures to ensure that Covid-appropriate behaviour is followed.
In a statement, CTI chairman Brijesh Goyal said shopkeepers could only be held responsible for their shops and godowns. He said, “It (DDMA order) states that it is the responsibility of the market welfare association to control the crowd in markets and (ensure that people) follow Covid-appropriate behaviour. How can a market association handle the crowd and enforce law and order without having any legal authority?”
Goyal said the CTI requested Baijal, who is also the DDMA chairman, to withdraw the line from its orders putting the onus for controlling crowds in markets on market associations. The responsibility of ensuring that Covid guidelines are followed in public places lies with municipal bodies, police, and district administration, he said. “The markets are being made soft targets,” he alleged.
Delhi was under a lockdown from April 19 to May 30 during the second wave of the Covid pandemic. Markets were allowed to open from June 7 under a phased reopening plan of the city government. The Delhi government ordered the closure of the Janpath market for the violation of Covid protocols on Monday. Earlier, markets in Lajpat Nagar, Laxmi Nagar, Kamla Nagar, Sarojini Nagar and parts of Sadar Bazar and Karol Bagh were shut by the DDMA.
(With agency inputs)