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EditorialSunday lockdown in Lahore 

Sunday lockdown in Lahore 

Consumers awakened on Sunday with the news of a lockdown in bazaars and markets except for emergency and essential services in Lahore. Reportedly, the Punjab government has imposed a complete lockdown in its provincial capital on all kinds of business activities in a bid to conserve energy and reduce power outages. The development was opposed by traders and shopkeepers, who blamed the government for depriving them of earning their bread and butter because Sunday is believed to be the day when a large-scale shopping takes place due to the closure of offices. The business community did not like the idea as traders’ associations argue that the decision would encourage corruption among the police and the shopkeepers, who take and give bribes to open their shops respectively. They were of the opinion that Sunday was not a suitable day for lockdown due to better sales, instead they proposed to the government to impose lockdown on any working day in bazaars. It was also a surprise for consumers who mostly turn to markets for purchasing grocery on the holiday. While the decision has opened up a debate among the traders, the district administration has formed special teams comprising Metropolitan Corporation Lahore (MCL) and other agencies to ensure closure of all commercial activities in the city at the notified time.

The Punjab government has been engulfed in problems soon after assuming power. The energy crisis and economic instability are pushing the new government to the wall and policy makers are taking tough decisions to avert the crises in the best possible ways. The closure of business activities a bit early and Sunday lockdown are part of the government’s energy conservation policy. However, the decision is inviting a strong backlash from the traders’ community as well as the public at large. In fact, the decision makers need to open up new vistas of remedial measures instead of imposing miscalculated decisions, which would prove more detrimental for the PML-N who is leading the Punjab government.

There is a need to implement such decisions which create lesser negative impact and bring some relief for traders and consumers alike. Due to our reliance on fossil fuels, energy production is costly, which also creates demand and supply gap. In this regard, focus needs to be made on channelizing other sources of producing clean energy. Conversion of markets and plazas on solar energy and maximum use of daylights are good options for saving trade and commerce industry from collapse instead of shutting down all business activities for a whole day.

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