The South Assam Chapter of the Assam Chamber of Commerce, on behalf of the business community in the region, on June 23, wrote to Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma appealing for the relaxation of the lockdown timings in Barak Valley and also for a Covid package for businesses which have been suffering because of the pandemic.
The Assam Chamber of Commerce did express its gratitude to the state government for dealing with the second wave of the Covid pandemic without enforcing complete lockdown which would have hurt businesses further after an extended lockdown last year resulted in the contraction of India’s GDP by 7.3%.
However, the association pointed out that images of traffic jams in Silchar were seen mostly because of the limited duration for movement and commerce. The association suggests if the timings are relaxed, such traffic congestion can be avoided.
The association also reiterated the fact that the two waves of the pandemic had pushed many businesses on the brink of collapse. It stressed on the need for a Covid support programme to help revive and bolster struggling businesses. It also sought a meeting with the Chief Minister in this regard during his next visit to the region.
Most importantly, the association urged upon the Chief Minister to consider relaxing curfew timings, given the fact that the positivity rate has dropped below one percent. It recommends extending working hours till 5 pm and has also asked for inter-district movement to be allowed, albeit with necessary restrictions in place.
In fact, the association has expressed unequivocal enthusiasm for compulsory vaccination of all business owners and employees on a priority basis. It must be noted that the association has contributed 1 lakh rupees towards the vaccination drive and has also contributed a vehicle to Silchar Civil Hospital for Covid support.
The undersigned in the letter, Vivek Poddar, is the President of the South Assam Chapter of the Assam Chamber of Commerce. Copies of the letter have also been forwarded to the Minister of Health, the Director of NHM and the DC of Cachar.