Kharghar: While the state government has allowed hotels, food courts, restaurants, and bars to operate from October 5 onwards, shops that are already open have demanded an extension in their operation timings till 9pm as they barely get any business during the day.

Netra Kiran Patil, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) corporator from Kharghar, has written to the civic administration on the matter. Patil says that shops hardly get business during the day time and are going through a very difficult phase. At present, all the shops have been allowed to operate till 7pm, except for take away from restaurants, which is up to 10pm.

Netra Kiran Patil has said, “Their shops were already closed for almost five months. Now, they do not get business as they have to close their shops after 7pm,” said Patil, adding that actual customers start coming after 7pm. As the state government has allowed many services to resume, people have to report to office or work from home during the day. “The lockdown has forced many to shut their business and the few left are struggling to get business due to the odd timings,” 

Rajesh Shrivastava, president of SEWA Foundation that helps people in distress, says that the operation timings must be increased as it will increase business. “Due to the lockdown, the business of all shops had come to standstill and they suffered huge losses,” said Srivastava, adding that their financial condition is in an extremely poor state and they need customers to bring their business back on track. “If they are allowed two more hours in the evening, they will certainly get good business,” added Shrivastava.

Even, Panvel Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) Prashant Thakur had demanded the opening of business, as people were going through extremely tough situations financially. A senior civic official from the Panvel Municipal Corporation (PMC) said that they have received similar demands. However, this is a policy decision that can be taken by the state government.

-With Input FPJ