The BS Yediyurappa-led Karnataka government extended the state-wide lockdown till June 7, after first being imposed on April 27.

Shops in Pune closed due to a lockdownRepresentative Image/ PTI
news Lockdown Saturday, May 22, 2021 - 13:37

Traders from Karnataka have requested aid from the state government as they brace themselves to face more hardships after the government extended the lockdown until June 7 on Friday. The Federation of Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) sought concessions for the business community from the government due to mounting losses. KFCCI President Periklal Sundar said in his statement to the media that they want the government to waive fixed charges on power levied by state-run distributors on all industrial and commercial establishments under lockdown. 

On Friday, the BS Yediyurappa-led Karnataka government extended the state-wide lockdown till June 7. The lockdown was first imposed on April 27 because of the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the city.

The trade body also asked the government for the payment of water bills to be deferred by three months — till August 31 — since business activities were abruptly halted. Sundar also reiterated that they want a 50% reduction in property taxes and license fee for all industries and commercial firms and a deferment in payment by three months.

He also asserted that the state government should reimburse wages paid to the employees of the traders, manufacturers, businesses and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) for three months. Alternately, the body demanded that the state government credit Rs 10,000 per month in the bank accounts of all employees working in the private sector, as a financial package, said Sundar in his statement. Agriculture Producers Market Committee's (APMC) yards and businesses should be allowed to function from 6 am to 6 pm from May 24 to recover from the losses, he added.

The trade body demanded to remain operational after May 24, at least in Bengaluru, where COVID-19 cases have declined. They requested a permit for inter-district movement of people in trade and services sectors.

Prakash Pirgal, Bengaluru Wholesale Cloth Merchants’ Association President, told TOI that they should be allowed to open their shops at least once a week, while Karnataka Dyes and Chemical Merchants’ Association chief Nirmal Jain was quoted saying that the local businesses are suffering due to mobility issues in the lockdown while e-commerce is thriving.

Correspondingly, the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (FKCC) had asked the Chief Minister for aid due to the financial crisis because of the lockdown for the people working in the Kannada film industry. KFCC secretary NM Suresh in a memorandum to the CM wrote that 18,000 people have been without work since April 27.

The chief minister recently announced a Rs 1,250 crore relief package to people working in the unorganised sector, as they have been in distress since the lockdown has curtailed or halted their earnings. Beneficiaries of the package included floriculture and horticulture farmers, barbers, tailors, domestic workers, auto and taxi drivers, weavers, construction labour and folk-artiste troupes. 

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