Chamber of Associations of Maharashtra Industry and Trade (CAMIT) has termed the state
governments â€œBreak the Chain Orderâ€ issued yesterday night as Death Warrant for brick & mortar
shops and traders and vehemently opposed the same.
Dipen Agrawal, President of CAMIT informing the press has said that after threadbare analysis of the
order with trade representatives across the State, the said order is not only found arbitrary and
against the traders but it also fails to address the core issue i.e. containment of Covid-19 virus in the
Mohan Gurnani, Chairman-CAMIT said, though the order claims that it is expedient to enforce the
measures stipulated therein till 30 th April 2021 so as to enable the Government to make certain
emergency measures to prevent and contain the spread of the virus. However, not even a single
word is mentioned about what emergency measures the Government will undertake during the
period. We fail to understand why the administration has not implemented these â€œemergency
measuresâ€ over the last one year and instead adopted a chalta hai attitude after the first wave of
the Covid-19 curve flattened in due course of time he added.
Ashok Bafna, Executive President-CAMIT, expressing his anguish on E-Commerce being included in
the list of Essential Services said that no provision for penalty is made in the order for
default/violation of the requirement for possession of a negative RTPCR Certificate by persons engaged
in E-commerce activity, whereas persons involved in every other activity are heavily fined for such
default. This illogical classification based on no intelligible differentia is beyond the imagination of an
insane person. The relaxation in the penalty appears to be a deliberate attempt of the Government
to promote and favour MNCs like Amazon, Flip-kart, Myntra, Snapdeal, and the likes against the Brick
& Mortar Shop owners in the State.
Raju Rathi, Sr. Vice President-CAMIT highlighted that Cooperative, PSU and Private Banks are
exempted whereas NBFC and Credit Societies working in the same field are not exempted. Similarly,
BSE/ NSE are exempted but their Brokers & Sub-brokers are not exempted. The order is silent on
postal and courier services. He said that this is another glaring example of arbitrariness of the order
and displays the casual approach and total non-application of mind on part of draftsman of the said
order. This makes it evident that currently, rule of law is not being followed in its true word and
spirit and there is neither equality before law nor equal protection of law to organizations which
belong to the same class, he added.
Ajit Kothari, Secretary-CAMIT said that the order is biased in favour of political leaders. He raised the
question as to why the order does not make the political leader accountable and penalized for
violation of Covid-19 protocols, along with the owner of premises. He further said that only denying
of further permission for holding political gathering by defaulting candidate is not sufficient. There
should be provision to charge an exemplary fine from the candidate and disqualify him/her from
contesting the elections to instill a feeling of equality among common man.
Mitesh Modi, Secretary-CAMIT said that the order mandates the shop and private office owners and
their staff to get vaccinated as per the criteria of GOI so as to enable the government to expedite
reopening without the fear of spread or acceleration of Covid-19. He highlighted that as per the
present criteria of GOI and available vaccines in India, two doses in the gap of six to eight weeks is to
be administered and after the second dose it takes about a fortnight for antibodies to develop in a
vaccinated person. Thus, if all traders and their staff are vaccinated on one single day, say on
05/04/2021 (which is not possible) then the vaccination as per GOI criteria will complete on or about
the first or second week of June 2021. The government by mandating vaccination as a condition
precedent for reopening of shops and private offices, with the current vaccination rate of 3 to 4 lac
persons per day in the State is nothing but penalising traders for the failure of State & Union
administration, he added.
Sanjay K. Agrawal, Vice President, CAMIT-Nagpur said that traders are the backbone of the
economy; they deploy their labour & capital and undertake risk to bring goods manufactured in
other parts of the country/world to the consumers in their area. Traders as a class are the largest
direct and indirect employment providers. They are the gratuitous tax collecting agents of the
governments. Contrary to this universally well-acknowledged proposition, it is surprising to note that
our CM consulted only MNCs and Corporates on Sunday afternoon before finalising the mitigation
strategy whereas he did not deem it necessary to consult traders. This action indicates that in view of
the CM only MNCs and corporates are stakeholders in the economy and not the traders. Informing
the opinions among traders are saying â€œsahab ne dukandaron ke peth par laat mari haiâ€ he
demanded reintroduction of â€œFirst Point Taxâ€ concept under GST (i.e. charge GST in the hands of
manufacturers) and free traders from the various compliances.
Dipen Agrawal informing about the demands/suggestions made by CAMIT said that true mitigation
measure is not in closing shops, private offices and other establishments; rather, administration
should deploy their resources firstly in ensuring that people who have tested positive for Covid-19
and advised home quarantine should strictly confine themselves in their home. Secondly, in order to
identify people who are asymptomatic, the administration should consider random testing in market
places, as was done in Mumbai. Thereafter, people who test positive should be suitably advised for
CAMIT further requested state government to consider opening shops, private offices, restaurants,
bars, hotels, salons, gyms, spas and other establishments from 7am â€“ 7pm on all weekdays and total
lockdown with curfew on weekends, wherein relaxation is only provided to medical and emergency
services. There can also be restriction on movement of citizens between 9pm â€“ 7am on weekdays.
Alternatively, like industries are allowed to operate and the restaurants and roadside eatable
vendors are permitted to operate for parcels and home deliveries, the government should allow
operation of shops and establishments in sectors where social distancing can easily be maintained
due to low footfall such as shops of iron & steel, marble, tiles, furniture, plywood, automobile and
other non-essential slow-moving products.
Agrawal demanded that if the above suggestions cannot be implemented then the government is
duty bound to compensate the traders for salary, rent, electricity, interest and other fixed expenses.
Despite the traderâ€™s constant cooperation with the government over the last one year in this fight
against the Covid-19 pandemic, if the government still fails to provide even such basic humanitarian
relief, the traderâ€™s may be pushed to wall and compelled to take extreme steps having catastrophic
implications on the economy, he added.
CAMIT has sent the memorandum to Uddhav Thackeray â€“ CM, Ajit dada Pawar – Dy. CM and
Devendra Fadnavis â€“ LOP, informs the press release issued by Sanjay Agrawal, Vice President of