Delhi to lift weekend lockdown, DDMA to meet today

New Delhi: The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), the highest decision-making body on Covid-19-related issues, will on Thursday meet to review the Covid-19 situation in the national capital and to discuss demands by the traders to lift the weekend curfew and odd-even rule for opening shops.

The traders’ fraternity wrote to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, under whose leadership the meeting will take place, regarding the same.

The meeting is scheduled for 12.30 pm and is likely to be attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. An official source earlier said that the government is also likely to take a call on the reopening of schools from February depending on the vaccination status of students by the end of this month.

Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), secretary-general, Praveen Khandelwal said the retail trade in Delhi has suffered a loss of about 70 per cent in the last 25 days due to the restrictions. Non-vaccinated persons should not be allowed to move out of their home, whereas on the other hand, the odd-even system and weekend lockdown should be abolished, Khandelwal said in the letter. Chamber of Trade and Industry (CTI) chairman Brijesh Goyal, too, on Wednesday submitted a memorandum to Baijal requesting him to ease restrictions for traders.

Nearly 20 lakh traders of the city are troubled due to the weekend curfew and odd-even restrictions on shops. Covid-19 cases have come down considerably in Delhi, Goyal stated in the memorandum asking the lieutenant governor to consider the traders’ demands during the Thursday meeting.

Last week, the Delhi government had proposed lifting the weekend curfew and ending the odd-even scheme for opening shops in view of the Covid-19 situation but Baijal suggested maintaining status quo on the restrictions till the situation improved further.

The LG office, however, had approved the government’s proposal to allow private offices to function with 50 per cent staff strength. “Now since the cases are going down and it also seems that the peak has gone, we want to ensure that the public’s livelihood continues smoothly. We have proposed to do away with weekend curfew and also with the odd-even arrangement of opening of shops in markets,” Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had said.

The weekend curfew is implemented at 10 pm on Friday and continues till Monday 5 am. The decision to impose weekend curfew was taken by the DDMA on January 1 due to rise in coronavirus cases in the national capital. A night curfew during weekdays is already in place from 10 pm to 5 am. (Agencies)

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