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Unlock 3.0: Lt Governor cancels Delhi govt's decision to open hotels, weekly markets

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New Delhi, July 31: Delhi LG Anil Baijal on Friday rejected Delhi government's decision to open hotels and weekly markets on a trial basis, as part of Unlock 3.

Baijal, who represents the central government and chairs the Delhi Disaster Management Authority, has ruled that these orders cannot be implemented.

Anil Baijal

As the COVID-19 situation continues to be "fragile" and the threat is still "far from over", the lieutenant governor has taken this decision, they said. The Delhi government termed the LG's decision as "incorrect" and stressed that reviving the city's economy while containing COVID-19 is its "topmost priority".

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    Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party asked the Centre to stop interfering in decisions of the Delhi government and undermining its authority.

    The development comes a day after Baijal overturned the Delhi Cabinet's decision to reject the Delhi Police's panel of lawyers for arguing the cases related to the February riots in the city in the Supreme Court and the high court.

    "The matter was discussed with Hon'ble Chief Minister and it was agreed that while there has been improvement, pandemic situation in the capital continues to be fragile and the threat is still far from over. Therefore a cautious and conservative approach is required," a statement issued by the LG office said.

    "While the proposal to allow Rehari Patriwallahs to operate for longer hours w.e.f. from 01.08.2020 was approved , the proposals of opening of hotels and hospitality services and opening of weekly bazaars are deferred for the time being and would be reviewed later by the SDMA," it added.

    In a statement issued late in the evening, the Delhi government said: "Without getting into the details, if the LG is agreeable, we can send the proposal again for reconsideration by the lieutenant governor." "Revival of Delhi's economy, while at the same time containing COVID-19, is the topmost priority of Delhi govt. The chief minister has always been a strong votary of opening economy," the government said in the statement.

    On Thursday, the Arvind Kejriwal government decided to allow hotels to reopen in the city. It also allowed weekly bazaars (markets) on a trial basis for seven days with social distancing and all necessary COVID 19-appropriate measures in place.

    Talking to reporters, AAP spokesperson Raghav Chadha said, "The Centre derives sadistic pleasure by inflicting pain and misery on people of Delhi and undermining the democratically elected government of Delhi."

    "In the last few days, we have seen on several occasions that the Centre interfered in decisions of the Delhi government," he said.

    The first example is the home isolation module which Centre earlier opposed, but later took back its decision after opposition from the people, Chadha said, adding that the second is the lawyers panel of Delhi government on Delhi riots was changed and then the third example is rejecting the Delhi government's proposal to open hotels.

    On June 8, 2020, the Centre allowed operation of hotels and weekly markets but on Friday, when the Delhi government wanted to open it, the Union government is not liking it.

    Delhi recorded 1,195 fresh coronavirus cases on Friday, taking the tally in the city to over 1.35 lakh, while the death toll from the disease mounted to 3,963, authorities said.

    Twenty-seven fatalities have been recorded in the last 24 hours and the overall death toll in the city stood at 3,963 on Friday, they said.

    According to the bulletin, 1,20,930 patients have recovered, been discharged or migrated so far. The number of people in home isolation stands at 5,763.

    As part of Unlock 3.0, the Delhi Government has allowed hotels, hospitality services, street hawkers to operate. The government has also decided to do away with night curfew, which was earlier applicable between 10 pm and 5 am.

    Officials said that the Delhi government will allow weekly bazaars to operate for a week on a trial basis to check if social distancing norms are adhered to.

    The Delhi government has also decided to allow normal functioning of hotels and hospitality services as already permitted under the Centre's unlock guidelines.

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