Small traders seek relief from losses

Experts suggest keeping shops open from 10am to 5pm ahead of Ramadan

Special Correspondent

8 April, 2021 12:00 AM printer

The agitating small traders seek relief from their business losses during the lockdown enforced across the country to check the fresh wave of coronavirus.

Hundreds of traders are continuing demonstrations in the capital and elsewhere for keeping their shops open during the lockdown, but there is no sign for fulfilling their demand.

“Although the government has accepted some demands of transport workers and several other professional groups, the authorities concerned are yet to allow us to run business for some time during the lockdown,” many a trader said.

Public transport is plying the streets, book fair is open, kitchen markets are open and people are also going to their offices regularly, but only shops have been kept shut in the name of violating health guidelines, they mentioned.

Experts have suggested that shops may be kept open from 10:00am to 5:00pm on the occasion of Ramadan, maintaining health safety guidelines.

Meanwhile, police and shopkeepers were locked in a chase and counter-chase at Gulistan in the capital on Wednesday in protest against the shutdown of their shops.

Witnesses said shopkeepers under the banner ‘Dhaka Ready-made Garments Businessmen Cooperative Society’ formed a human chain and staged demonstrations around 11:00am in front of Fulbaria Super Market-2, demanding opening of the shops by maintaining the health guidelines.

As the police intercepted the protesters trying to block the road in front of the BRTC bus counter, they threw brick chips at the law enforcers.          

At a stage, police tried to stop them. Later, the shopkeepers left the area.

Traders of different markets and shopping malls, including new market and Mouchak, in the capital took to the city streets and staged demonstrations for the last three days to press home their some demands.

The protesters demanded opening of their shops during the lockdown by maintaining the health guidelines, police said.

Protesting against the lockdown, the demonstrators on Sunday blocked New Market—Mirpur road, causing severe traffic congestions and sufferings of the commuters.

They also hurled stones and brickbats at the police and vandalised some motor vehicles.

On the government’s instruction, city bus services resumed in Dhaka, Chattogram, Rajshaihi, Khulna, Sylhet and other cities on Wednesday, giving relief to the commuters.

However, the number of buses in the capital was thin due to a small number of passengers.

“Inter-city buses started going back into operation on Wednesday morning but the number of buses is few.

As the number of passengers is low, owners are operating a little number of buses,” said DMP Joint Commissioner (Traffic North) Abu Saleh Sheikh Russel.

“As the government has suspended the ridesharing services, we’re filing cases against those who are operating the services.”

“We’re also monitoring whether people are following the health guidelines,” he said.

Private cars, rickshaws and auto-rickshaws, microbus and CNG-run auto-rickshaws and many motorcycle sharing rides on contract were seen plying the streets.

Shopping malls are closed on the government’s instruction, but shops were seen open in many areas.