Covid-19: Traders in Kalahandi Decide to Voluntarily Close Shops

To curb the rising Covid-19 cases, traders from nine small towns of the Kalahandi district have voluntarily decided to close their shops till May 2. This decision comes at a time when Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had dismissed the possibility of imposing a lockdown.

The trader’s associations in western Odisha districts have voluntarily come forward to temporarily close their businesses to break the chain. For the convenience of people, vegetable vendors will be operating till 10 am.

“The second wave of COVID-19 is wreaking havoc in western Odisha districts. No drug has been invented to cure the disease. It is impossible to ensure that all people wear masks. The only option left with us is to shut the market down. We hope our step will help break the chain”, said Bijay Sahoo, the president of the Kalahandi Merchant Association.

Under this initiative, shops in Bhawanipatna, Junagarh, Narla, and Kesinga towns would remain shut till May 2.

Kalahandi is one of the districts in western Odisha where the infection rate is increasing steeply. The test positivity rate (TPR) in the district had at one point crossed 50%. Traders’ associations in the neighbouring Balangir and Nuapada districts also came up with similar announcements.

The trader association and the citizen association in Patnagarh have submitted representations to the government to announce a shutdown so that the infection spread could be checked. A similar announcement was made by traders in Saintala and Kantabanji.

“Everyone should wear masks and keep social distance. I don’t want restrictive measures such as lockdown or shutdown. This will weaken our economy. If people remain alert, we will fight COVID-19 without resorting to lockdown”, said the CM on Sunday.

Odisha has been reporting over 6,000 Covid cases daily for the past five days. A majority of the new cases were reported from western Odisha districts such as Sundargarh, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Bargarh, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, and Balangir.

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