Karachi markets divided into 13 sectors for reopening during lockdown


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With some business activities slated to resume in the metropolis from today, large markets in Karachi have been divided into 13 different sectors for reopening one after another on a rotational basis on different days during the coronavirus lockdown, reported The News on Monday.

According to the publication, authorities believe the reopening of all shops at a time will be detrimental to efforts in place to slow down the local transmission of coronavirus.

The plan to divide markets in Karachi into 13 different sectors is part of the recommendations submitted to the Sindh chief minister on Sunday by a ministerial committee for devising a proper mechanism and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for reopening of markets in the city in a phased manner during the lockdown.

Provincial ministers Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, Saeed Ghani, Mukesh Kumar Chawla and Imtiaz Shaikh were part of the ministerial committee, which held negotiations with the representatives of the small traders at the office of the Commissioner Karachi for devising a consensus mechanism and SOPs for the reopening of markets in the city.

The SOPs proposed by the ministerial committee took into account the aspects of social distancing among the shoppers and employees of the markets in the city and also to ensure best hygienic conditions for them for their protection against the virus.

Shops in the metropolis will be opened on a rotational basis, while all outlets associated with a particular sector of business in Karachi will open for a day in a coordinated manner.

According to Sindh Education and Labour Minister Ghani, the representatives of the small traders in the city have agreed to the recommendations of the provincial government that there would not be a full-fledged revival of the market activities.

He said the chief minister, after the evaluation and finalisation of the recommendations and SOPs proposed by the ministerial committee, would forward them to the prime minister for final approval.

“It is our desire that a uniform set of SOPs and policy should be adopted for the revival of market activities across the country during the lockdown and the prime minister himself should approve such a policy mechanism for the entire country,” Ghani said.

He added the representatives of the small traders fully realise the gravity of the situation. The minister expressed gratitude to the small traders for keeping the markets in Karachi shut for one month due to the emergency.

He said the recommendations of the small traders would be taken into account for helping them to whatever extent it was feasible for the government for the revival of the business activities in the markets.

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