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Shopkeepers defer stir after Maharashtra CM seeks 2 days for rethink | Mumbai News – Times of India

MUMBAI: Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday held a virtual meeting with traders to pacify them over the shutdown of shops amid the Covid-19 situation. Hopeful of a breakthrough, shop owners’ federations agreed to hold off Thursday’s planned protests for two days as they await his response.
Thackeray informed the wholesalers and retailers that the state would consider their demands and suggestions. He said the government did not want to hamper business and the only aim of the restrictions was to reduce crowds. “We are in this fight together. The government is not your enemy, we don’t want business to suffer. Give me two days to think about what can be done without adding to the risk of spreading the infection,” he said.
Thackeray appealed to them not to talk about taking to the streets. “If the government decides to concede your demands, you will have to follow all the rules set by the government ,” he said.
He said shop owners should get their employees tested and vaccinated. He urged them not to get “instigated” by the opposition party.
Afterwards, associations like FAM deferred Thursday’s protests awaiting the chief minister’s response. CAMIT chairman Mohan Gurnani said: “We expressed our resentment to the CM, who said we are your friends and not enemies. He appreciates our problems and asked for two days to find some solution.”
Viren Shah of FRTWA said: “The CM accepted that corona does not spread in shops where there is no crowd.”
Traders in Kolhapur agreed to wait till Thursday evening for a decision. Sanjay Shete, president of the Kolhapur Chamber of Commerce and Industries, said from Friday they would defy the ban and if coercive action is taken, they would force essential supply shops to shut too.
The traders’ body in Aurangabad district submitted a memorandum to the government demanding a relief package, failing which they sought permission to commit mass suicide.
Representatives of the Association of Chartered Accountants and Company Secretaries, too, met Thackeray, who asked them for SOPs for staggered work hours.
Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis in a letter urged Thackeray to reconsider the “undeclared” lockdown on weekdays.
He said the hotel industry had complained that it was forced to pay all taxes by March 31 despite a bad year and had to take loans for it.

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