Nearly 35 Percent Sweet Shops Open In Bengal (Photo Credit: PTI)
Around 30-35 per cent of sweet shops opened in the two days since getting a go-ahead from the West Bengal government to remain open for four hours during the lockdown period, officials said on Wednesday. The state government had on Monday said sweet shops will be allowed to operate from 12 noon to 4 pm, after the apex body of sweetmeat outlets flagged concerns over wastage of milk and jobless staff.
The sweet shops did "decent business" with limited stock and skeletal staff on Tuesday and Wednesday, said Jagannath Ghosh, joint secretary of "Paschimbanga Mistanna Byabosayee Samity. Several shops in the city and elsewhere in the state opened from 12 noon to 4 pm and kept half of their regular stock. Shops which have employees living nearby and can transport their products to the outlets without difficulty are the ones that are opening. But, not everybody has that advantage.
"Also, some sweet shops are not sure about the customer response during the stipulated four hours since not many are in markets during that time," he said. The apex body of sweet shop owners had on Tuesday sent a letter to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, thanking her for the decision to let outlets remain open, but expressed reservations over the prescribed time period.
It had also urged the CM to reschedule the timing from 8 am to 1 pm, when more people visit groceries and other shops.
"There are around one lakh sweet shops in the state which faced heavy losses due to the ongoing lockdown," another office-bearer of the sweetmeat sellers' body, Dhiman Chandra Das, said.