While suggestion to impose lockdown came up during an online meeting of office-bearers of the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) with Chief Minister Vijay Rupani last week, the Federation of Surat Textile Traders Association (FOSTTA) wrote to the CM seeking a complete lockdown.
In view of a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases, at least two industrial associations in Gujarat last week suggested that the Gujarat government impose a lockdown to break the chain of infections.While suggestion to impose lockdown came up during an online meeting of office-bearers of the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) with Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, the Federation of Surat Textile Traders Association (FOSTTA) wrote to the CM seeking a complete lockdown in Surat city.
“We have proposed to the government to impose a lockdown in the entire state if needed. Lockdown is inevitable in the current circumstances. There is no solution in sight to control the pandemic. The industry will stand with the government on whatever decision it takes in this regard,” said an office-bearer of GCCI who was present at the meeting. “We have to save lives first and the economy later. Though we made the suggestion, the government did not deliberate on the issue,” the official added.
During the meeting, the CM welcomed voluntary shutdowns by several trade and industrial associations in the last fortnight. GCCI members from 11 districts, including Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Visnagar, Surendranagar, Bhavnagar, Gandhidham and Palanpur, participated.
In Surat, FOSTTA wrote a letter to the CM suggesting a complete lockdown in Surat city. “The two-day lockdown is not sufficient and to break the chain of Covid-19, you should go for seven-day complete lockdown,” stated the letter referring to the lockdown in the city on April 17-18 when some of the textile units had shut down operations voluntarily.
FOSTTA general secretary Champalal Bothra said, “We are facing huge loss in business and have come across complaints that while trade establishments continue to function on weekends, only textile trading industry is being targeted. If our demand for complete lockdown is not looked into by the government, we will not keep our shops closed on Saturdays and Sundays.” The demand from the industry came as the number of new Covid-19 cases reported in Gujarat crossed 11400 and the deaths touched 117 on April 19.
In the meeting with GCCI, the state government also sought the help of the industry in procuring oxygen cylinders for Covid patients. “The industrial associations of Vatva, Naroda, Kathwada, Narol and others have already collected 1,000 empty oxygen cylinders and given it to the government. In the next two days, we will be given 500 cylinders more,” the GCCI official added.