Kejriwal proposes global makeover for Delhi’s weekly markets

New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday proposed a global makeover for the city’s weekly markets to develop them as a popular tourist spot.

During an interaction with representatives of weekly market associations, he said an atmosphere has been created in the country that there are problems with the weekly markets and street vendors, but his government will encourage them as other countries do.

“We will develop a system for setting up weekly markets so that tourists from countries like the US visit them. The weekly markets will be presented as one of the most attractive tourist places in Delhi,” Kejriwal said.

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He said everyone, including the people of Delhi, market associations and the government, will have to work together to strengthen the city’s economy.

The meeting came after the Delhi Disaster Management Authority(DDMA) decided to allow weekly markets to reopen on a trial basis last week.

The representatives of the weekly market associations thanked Kejriwal and the Delhi government for reopening of the markets in the city.

The last six months were tough, not only for Delhi but also for the entire world. People had to save themselves and their families from the COVID-19 pandemic while jobs and businesses were shutdown and there was no source of income, the chief minister said.

“We currently have a fragile situation at hand and there is no source of revenue of tax for the Delhi government.

“We could have stopped the subsidies on water and electricity, but we decided to keep the subsidies for the people, including the free bus rides for women, because this is the need of the hour,” he said.

Kejriwal said his government consistently made efforts for reopening of weekly markets.

“I spoke to the LG 20-25 days back for reopening of weekly markets when the central government had allowed the reopening of markets. But they took a decision to hold it off for a few days. I was consistent in my efforts to convince them for it, and they gave the permission after August 15,” he said.

Kejriwal requested the associations to maintain social distancing in the markets.

“If you fail to do that, government officials might pressurise you or take action against you, and this will affect your customer strength. Please appoint your volunteers with the heads of the weekly markets for maintaining a system for social distancing in the markets,” he said.

The chief minister said that public opinion is very important for businesses, and if the public starts complaining about no social distancing in the markets, it will pose a problem in the future.

“This is also important so that the opening of markets on a trial basis is soon converted into a permanent plan by the LG, and I will be able to advocate for the permanent opening of all weekly markets in Delhi. We also have many plans for operating weekly markets in the city,” he said.

Street hawkers operate in many cities like London. The government of Hong Kong encourages the establishment of weekly markets, Kejriwal said.

“In the coming days, we will create a proper management system so that more and more people are attracted to the weekly markets. We will also develop a proper system just like it is done in Hong Kong and other countries.”

The chief minister assured support of the Delhi government to weekly markets and resolve their issues.

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