GO on keeping shops, open round the clock evokes mixed response

Telangana residents have welcomed the new guidelines given by the administration

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HYDERABAD: The Telangana government released guidelines on Tuesday allowing shops and establishments in the state to be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The GO read: "The Government, after careful examination of the matter, hereby decides to issue guidelines for granting exemption from section 7 (Opening and Closing hours) of the Telangana Shops And Establishments Act, 1988 to all Shops & Establishments as defined in section 2 (21) of the Telangana Shops & Establishments Act, 1988 for operating 24 hours in the Telangana State subject to certain conditions."

Telangana residents have welcomed the new guidelines given by the administration. Some consider this as a significant reform, while some others feel it would help Hyderabad become a truly global metropolis.

Many people have also expressed concerns about maintaining peace, law and order at night while stores are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Some people were also concerned about the over-exploitation of workers and staff at these shops and establishments.

The Hyderabad Kirana Merchants Association, on the other hand, argues that this 24*7 norm is unsuitable for kirana merchants across the state because no workers would be willing to work 24*7.

"Since there is no business during the day time, what is the point of running the shop for 24*7?" asked Laxminarayan Rathi, former president of The Hyderabad Kirana Merchants Association. “This new government order is more appropriate for hotels, pubs, clubs, and malls because no one wants to visit a kirana shop at night."

"Our businesses have suffered as a result of the recent development of malls and supermarkets. We cannot ask staff to perform double shifts given the current status of the economy. It is also unsustainable in terms of health and personal time. It is impossible for anyone to work 24 hours a day because it is harmful to one's health, and when will we spend time with our families?" he reasoned.

"More than hotels, I believe that this new reform is more useful to supermarkets and fast food centres because all IT employees work until late in the nights, so it is useful for them to shop and eat after work," said Ashok Reddy, president of the Hyderabad Hotels Association. "Even though it is a positive reform, because there would be less harassment for closing hours, maintaining hotels in three shifts would be challenging because two shifts itself is difficult to manage. If we run a hotel 24 hours a day, we would need to double the workforce in three shifts, but we are unsure who would want to work night shifts and eat outside cuisine all night,"he added.

Welcoming the move Anuj Gurwara, a Hyderabad resident, said, "This is fantastic news." I hope employee welfare, pay, and safety are taken care of. We're a late-night-active society more than ever. People are willing to spend for entertainment and recreation beyond midnight. "Keeping avenues open with guidelines will boost the economy and culture."

"I'm concerned about the welfare of often overworked and underpaid employees," said Corrine Rodriguez, another Hyderabad resident.

Sinjith Goud, a lawyer from Kamareddy, stated, "It's a good decision as long as all products and services are sold at MRP rates round the clock."

Another Hyderabad resident Dileep Damisetti said, "It is a very welcome decision, and labour laws must be strictly followed. Otherwise, people may benefit from this service, but businesses will undoubtedly exploit employees in terms of working hours or overtime pay. That must be monitored and addressed as soon as possible."

According to consumer activist Srikhande Umesh Kumar, "late-night activities in establishments such as bars and clubs can generate loud noise and disturbance, which can disrupt the peace and quietude of nearby residents and businesses." Operating a business round the clock necessitates additional resources such as utilities, security, and staffing."

"Maintaining law and order is more important than anything else," said Shashidhar Vuppala, a corporate employee from Hyderabad. He adds, "There's nothing wrong with opening 24-hour services."

"Someone observed that it means only alcohol and cold drinks shops would benefit," said Narsimha Reddy, another Hyderabad resident. "Customers would not come to any other store 24 hours a day. Margins being low for many products, shops cannot afford to appoint three employees per three shifts in a day," he added.

Another Hyderabad resident, Sai Vikas, said, "If these opportunities are properly utilized, the nightlife economy, employment opportunities, and tourism will be greatly boosted."

"Good idea," said Assistant Professor Srikanth Renikunta of Hyderabad, and added: "but store management may not hire new employees." Instead, they may assign extra work to existing employees, resulting in decreasing productivity owing to a lack of adequate relaxation. Inadequate rest may create health problems, thus proper checks are required to regulate this issue."

"Additionally, residents living near main roads may experience disturbances due to increased traffic," he noted. Of course, there are several benefits in terms of tourism, employment, nightlife, and other factors."

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