LAHORE: The district authorities Thursday sealed hundreds of shops and markets in the city over non-implementation of the agreed upon standard operating procedures (SOPs) by traders.
Minister for Industries and Trade Mian Aslam Iqbal and the district administration officials visited various markets in the city and sealed a number of shops during inspection. City Assistant Commissioner Tabraiz Mari, along with SP City, visited Shah Alam Market, Anarkali Bazaar and Azam Market, Islampura, Beadon Road and got 160 shops sealed. Similarly dozens of shops were sealed in Azam Cloth Market over violation of the instructions.
AC Raiwind Adnan Rasheed held a meeting with the law-enforcement agencies and later visited Raiwind Bazaar where he sealed 12 shops over violation of Covid-19 SOPs.
AC Cantt Ms Marsia Saleem visited Y-Block Defence Road to check Covid-19 arrangements at open shops and got sealed 27 shops including outlets of various branded readymade garments.
AC Model Town Zeeshan Nasrullah Ranjha visited Chungi Amar Sidhu and Ferozpur Road and got seven shops sealed over violations. He also got sealed a big business centre at Model Town Link Road.
AC Shalimar Maloof Mehdi inspected Ghari Shahu and Harbanspura Bazaar and issued warnings to shopkeepers.
Minister for Trade and Commerce Punjab Mian Aslam Iqbal, Deputy Commissioner Lahore Danish Afzal and DIG Operations Rai Babar visited Liberty Market where they inspected Covid-19 related measures. They urged shopkeepers to follow all instructions and measures to control Covid-19.
During sealing of shopsand closing of markets in Anarkali and Neela Gumbad areas, scuffles between traders and government officials took place. Anjuman-e-Tajiran Anarkali, however, forcibly attempted to stop closure and sealing of shops by the district administration.
Anjuman-e-Tajiran Anarkali President Ashraf Bhatti said the SOPs were being followed, while the rush of public in the market had increased due to limited business hours. After negotiations, traders agreed on implementing the SOPs and the shops and markets were reopened. The district administration warned that shops and markets could be sealed again over violation of the SOPs.
Meanwhile, Anjuman-e-Tajiran also conducted an awareness activity at Ichhra bazaar where trader leaders distributed face-masks among buyers, besides not allowing the entry of elderly people and children in bazaars. The leaders admitted that traders would have to take responsibility for creating awareness among the public to keep the markets open.
Minister Mian Aslam Iqbal, during his Liberty Market visit, said the markets were opened on continuous demand of traders and now ensuring strict implementation of the SOPs was also their responsibility. He said traders should follow the SOPs in letter and spirit; otherwise, the government would be compelled to close markets again.
The minister announced that the government would conduct random corona testes of salesmen and buyers in the big markets of the city, and the government would continue its cooperation with the business and trade community. He appealed to traders to remove encroachments from markets themselves, as it was causing rush.
Warnings were also issued to shopkeepers, along with sensitising them to follow all SOPs. Meanwhile, Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Zulfiqar Hameed said on Thursday that under the SOPs issued by the Punjab government, there would be complete lockdown in the city from Friday to Sunday.
Markets, bazaars, shops would remain closed and all kinds of movement would be completely banned. All private offices would also remain closed. He said there would be a complete ban on all types of transport including pillion riding on motorbikes. In this regard, blockades would be set up at various places in the city to ensure lockdown.
Zulfiqar Hameed said that action would be taken against those who would leave their homes unnecessarily. He appealed to citizens to stay safe in their homes to avoid any trouble.
The Lahore police chief directed the police officers to implement the government SOPs during Friday prayers. Ensure the social distancing policy inside and outside mosques and places of worship. Dolphin and Police Response Unit (PRU) squads should increase patrolling around mosques and places of worship during Friday prayers, he added.
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