While shops were to be numbered by 10am on Tuesday, many shopkeepers say they had not received any information from the municipal corporation.

shops open as lockdown relaxed in Hyderabad Source:GHMC
Coronavirus Lockdown Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - 15:42

Hyderabad had decided to adopt an odd-even approach to open shops in the city with Monday counted as an ‘odd day’ and Tuesday counted as an ‘even day’. The decision was taken on Monday evening by the Municipal Administration and Urban Development Department (MAUD). But by Tuesday morning, confusion prevailed among shop owners in the city with many even unaware that an odd-even rule had come into place. Retailers say the nodal agencies should have been given one more day before relaxing rules to open shops.

According to the new odd-even plan, shops will be numbered as 1, 2, 3 if they are in a row. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHCM) is to enforce the odd-even rule and has deputed staff to ensure it is being adhered to from Tuesday.

Wherever there is any confusion with the shop numbering, the GHMC staff has been asked to begin numbering with the corner most shop or the first shop in the street, assigning it as number 1, the second shop as number 2 and so on.  The numbering and planning prior to it were to be sorted out by 10 am on Tuesday.

But confusion prevailed among shopkeepers across the city with many not receiving any communication about the odd-even plans for shops. Retailers say MAUD gave GHMC very little time to issue proper instructions to retailer shop owners.As of how the process of numbering has begun across city in a staggered manner.

TNM noticed several shops that had opened shutters for the first time after the lockdown began on March 24 but were not following the odd-even rule. Several shop owners at SR Nagar, Ameerpet localities have received no information from GHMC as of Tuesday morning.

The owner of a textile shop at Ameerpet that has resumed service said, “We didn’t get any information from GHMC.The Chief Minister said shops can open, so we opened.”

A neighbouring textile shop which according to the rules should have been closed on Tuesday was also open. The owner of the shop said, “There is confusion, some are saying only shops in four containment zones within the city can’t open. Others say all of Hyderabad is a containment zone and so no shops can open.” Both shop owners refused to let their shops be photographed fearing backlash from GHMC.

“They should have waited for a day to enforce the rules. They should have got the numbering done of shops done before opening. Those who are aware of the odd-even rule are informing others through WhatsApp,” said Dilip Kumar, president, Telangana Retail Shop Owners Association, “We waited for over 50 days, one more day wouldn’t hurt. We are sending WhatsApp text messages asking shops to wait for numbering by GHMC before they open,”

According to the MAUD, shop owners are to communicate and coordinate with each other to avoid disputes and make the odd-even plan a success. If any problem or dispute between the two adjacent shops or cluster of shops arises regarding opening on a particular day, the administration warned that it will close down all the shops till the lockdown period.

Some shop owners, however, expressed concern about getting their neighbouring shops to agree to the odd-even plan. “This is going to be difficult,” said one textile shop owner whose neighbouring textile shop also has opened its store.” Some of us are not in talking terms and they are competition,” he adds.

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