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Weekly markets to be tourist hotspots like in London, Hong Kong: Delhi CM

Markets were allowed to open from Monday on a trial basis, with the DDMA mandating that one market open per day in each municipality zone.




Weekly markets in Delhi will be developed as tourist destinations the way they are done in London and Hong Kong, said Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Markets were allowed to open from Monday on a trial basis, with the DDMA mandating that one market open per day in each municipality zone.

On Tuesday, the CM met representatives of weekly market associations to discuss social distancing and other plans. The opening of these markets had become a contentious issue, with the Delhi government asking they be restarted but the L-G holding off on the decision. “I spoke to the L-G 20-25 days ago regarding opening weekly markets when the Centre had allowed it. But they took a decision to hold it off for a few days… gave his nod after August 15,” he said, adding that action could be taken against sellers if social distancing is not maintained.

Kejriwal said tourist destinations and a “management system” will be created to increase footfall after Covid abates: “The environment is such that street hawkers are often considered a problem if they operate on the roadside. Street hawkers operate in many developed nations such as London and Europe… In the coming days, we will create a proper management system so that more people are attracted to weekly markets. The area of Chandni Chowk has been revamped and more tourists will start visiting. We will develop a system for setting up weekly markets so that tourists from countries like US visit them.”

Among the weekly markets to reopen Tuesday since March were at Gokalpuri and Dilshad Garden. At the Gokalpuri market, vendors maintained a gap of 3 feet between each stall, wore masks and used hand sanitisers.

Arvind Kumar, licensing inspector from East MCD’s enforcement department at the market Tuesday, said, “We have been going around each market to ensure vendors follow guidelines. We have marked stall spaces and customer boundary lines and circles with yellow paint.”

Guidelines include maintaining a few feet of distance between each stall, wearing masks, and allowing only two customers at a particular moment per stall. Kumar said, “We will impose a fine of Rs 500 if they do not follow the norms.”

Most vendors who have opened stalls are now under debt. Manveer Singh (50), a vendor, said, “I have a large family to support and have debt worth Rs 1 lakh. We just need to earn, we will follow rules…”

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