The state government had allowed the standalone shops to open with 50% staff from April 25 except barber shops, beauty parlours, restaurants and hotels along with shops selling cold drinks, and the ones which are in containment zones.
Defending the state government’s directive to allow all shops in Gujarat, except those located in COVID-19 containment zones, to open, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on April 26 said that some “elements” were trying to undermine the struggle against COVID-19 by spreading misinformation that the move is aimed at facilitating Muslims during the month of Ramzan.
The state government had allowed the standalone shops to open with 50 per cent staff on April 25 except barber shops, beauty parlours, restaurants and hotels along with shops selling cold drinks, and the ones which are in containment zones. However, the following day, the state government revoked its decision and declared that the relaxations will not be applicable to four major major cities of Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot.
Rupani on April 26, appeared on a social media platform and answered queries on the directives. “Today, there is a question in the minds of some people if when the lockdown is imposed in the entire country till May 3, why is the state government hastening the relaxations,” The Indian Express quoted him as saying.
“The state government does not want to lift the lockdown, but when those, who are earning their bread-n-butter on daily basis, are facing the situation for more than a month, the state government must be concerned about them as well. When trading is in the DNA of Gujarat, it is not affordable that the business/employment is shut for more than a month,” added the Gujarat CM. He further told that the state government’s move complies with Union Home Ministry guidelines under which small traders can do their business
The CM informed that since Saturday the state government had been receiving calls from businessmen asking for the continuation of the lockdown in the cities considering only six days were left. In his third address to the nation, PM Modi had extended the lockdown till May 3.
“Some people are also raising questions if we relaxed lockdown norms to facilitate Muslims in the month of Ramzan. Friends, this is a fight against coronavirus and politics in that too? Some elements are trying to weaken the fight (against coronavirus) by spreading misinformation. But they will not succeed. For us, the safety of 6.5 crore Gujaratis is the only target. For us, there is no discrimination between Hindu-Muslim-Sikh-Isai… So, I pity those people who do not leave a chance to do politics by such illogical talks; at a time when the entire human race is facing a crisis,” Rupani said.
Rupani further informed that the maximum number of positive cases have been reported from areas where curfew was imposed and are Muslim dominated also since these areas fall under containment zones, the standard of relaxation in lockdown would not have applied to them.
Rupani said that the COVID-19 recovery ratio of patients in the state is around 60 per cent. As of April 27, Gujarat has reported 3301 confirmed cases, while 151 people have died in due to COVID-19.
The central government had earlier on April 25 issued an order saying that neighbourhood and standalone shops, including those selling garments, mobile phones, hardware and stationery items have been allowed to open but those located in market places, malls and COVID-19 hotspot and containment zones, will continue to remain shut till May 3.