UP traders to protest 'close at 7 pm' order
Lucknow: Upset over the Uttar Pradesh government's order to close shops and malls by 7 pm in the face of acute power crisis, traders have decided to hold protests across the state on Wednesday.
Saying the diktat would seriously imperil their businesses, trader-members of Uttar Pradesh Udyog Vyapar Mandal (UPUVM) said the move was impractical and needed to be opposed tooth and nail.
"It doesn't make any sense. People usually come out for shopping after 7 pm owing to the heat wave conditions during the day. If we close our shops at that time, the business is bound to suffer," UPUVM functionary Sandeep Bansal said.
Traders, Bansal said, would take to the streets against this order and would oppose it through a memorandum to Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.
UPUVM President Sanjay Gupta said the decision amounted to the victimisation of shopkeepers and would not be "accepted at any cost".
Traders would protest against the order in all district headquarters outside the district magistrate's office, he said.
Daring the government to take action, senior functionary Banwari Lal Kanchal said the shops would not close before 9 pm.
Facing a shortfall of around 2,500 MW, the state government Sunday ordered all shops and shopping malls across the state to roll down their shutters at 7 pm.
A spokesperson of the labour department said only pharmacy shops would be allowed the flexibility to operate beyond the new closing time.
According to the spokesperson, the new business hours for restaurants and food joints in the state have been fixed between 11 am and 10 pm.
The order will be in force for 15 days.
Officials on Monday said the labour department would ensure that the order was not flouted.