Nepal | January 26, 2021

Police halt operation of businesses in valley

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Police personnel today shut down shops and businesses across Kathmandu valley that had been operating in defiance of the ongoing lockdown.

The police forced people to shut down their businesses, especially retail and wholesale shops, in Thamel, New Road, New Baneshwor and Koteshwor, asking people to strictly follow lockdown rules in force till June 14.

With no end in sight to the nationwide lockdown imposed on March 24 that has effectively halted all economic activities for the past two-and-a-half months, traders, firms and industries have begun defying restrictions to resume operation. As the government has delayed easing lockdown measures, traders have started defying the lockdown by opening their businesses.

However, police personnel halted market operations reminding people that the lockdown was still in force and opening shops and businesses was against lockdown norms.

Deputy Inspector General Niraj Bahadur Shahi, spokesperson for Nepal Police, said opening businesses amid the lockdown was not allowed. “The lockdown continues till June 14 and the government has not yet decided on the new lockdown modality.

Retailers and wholesalers cannot operate till the lockdown is in force,” he added.

The private sector has been constantly putting pressure on the government to ease lockdown measures that prevent opening of businesses, mobility and transportation services. Moreover, the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry had recently asked the government to review its decision to extend the lockdown, stating that businesses were bound to collapse under the present lockdown modality.

Meanwhile, Naresh Katwal, president of Nepal National Traders Federation, said business activities had resumed gradually following consultations with the District Administration Office, Kathmandu.

“Businesses cannot remain shut forever. Moreover, we had also consulted the DAO before opening markets,” he said, adding that the government and police should allow resumption of businesses.

Earlier, NNTF had decided to open shops and other businesses across the country till 11:00am daily from June 5 by adopting necessary precautionary measures against COVID-19.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on June 10, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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