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Retailers say lakhs of people will lose jobs if shops remain shut

Leading dealers in electronics and home appliances have written to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami seeking his intervention in allowing them to operate in districts wherever permitted and warned of job losses if there is a delay.

The retailers are worried about the relaxation of guidelines during the COVID-19 lockdown not being followed uniformly across the State and their stores being asked to shut by enforcement authorities even in Orange zones.

“Tamil Nadu consumers electronics and home appliance market is worth nearly Rs. 7,500 crore per annum and it employs around 25,000 frontline salesmen and about 1,500 back-end people and accounts for GST revenue of Rs. 1,875 crore per annum and 40% of this comes in the month of March, April and May,” they said in the letter.

Representatives of Viveks, Vasanth and Co, Shah’s, Girias, Venus Electronics, BEA (Bharath Electronics & Appliances), Darling Retail, Sathya, Sharptronics, Shri Meenakshi Fan House Pvt. Ltd. were among the signatories of the letter sent to Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary through Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Tamil Nadu.

“We request you to allow our operations in individual districts where we have been asked to shut down and we assure you that we will follow the government rules and regulations for COVID-19. Further delay will result in loss of jobs to the tune of 30%-40% where around 10,000 families will lose their livelihood,” the retailers said in the letter.

Lakhs of others working in manufacturing, logistics, service sector and advertising agencies, who also depend on this industry, would also lose their livelihood, they warned.

“The implications of this will result in the loss of direct and indirect taxes. We request the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and all the gvernment authorities to help us come out of this situation,” the dealers said.

The retailers also noted that the industry operatedon a wafer thin margin and hadfaced lot of challenges like paying rent, salary and government bills aggregating to Rs. 300 crore, during the lockdown. The Hindu

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