Mumbai: Over 1.40 million shops and establishments in Maharashtra are raring to get down to business after the Centre has relaxed the norms, a top official said here on Saturday.
These 1.40 million include more than 20 per cent, or around 3,00,000 in Mumbai alone, with the rest spread across the state, said Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA) President Viren Shah.
"Now that the Centre's directive has come, we are eagerly awaiting the State government's green signal to resume businesses, though we are aware that Mumbai and certain other parts of Maharashtra are the coronavirus hotspots," Shah told IANS.
However, he feels that those areas which are not much affected by COVID-19 in Mumbai and other cities in the state may be opened up after taking into account all other aspects like containment efforts or social distancing norms, as advised by the state health authorities.
The FRTWA's suggestion is the authorities may first open up the less infected areas and then gradually proceed to the other regions in the city and other parts of the state.
"The immediate problem will be of commuting in places like Mumbai as most of the workers live in far-off areas. With transportation unlikely to be started soon, local authorities or representatives will need to arrange for buses, cabs for the workers to and from homes," Shah pointed out.
With the Centre's green signal, the state and BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) authorities are likely to make their stand clear later on Saturday after discussions at various levels.
An official said that extreme caution will be required since Mumbai and Maharashtra are among the worst-hit in the country with 178 and 301 COVID-19 deaths, besides the number of patients at 4,447 and 6,817 respectively till date.
Trade, business and commercial activities are virtually paralysed since March 15, followed by the state and national lockdowns from March 24 and March 25, which remain in force till May 3.