NEW DELHI: The Federation of Retailer Association of India (FRAI) on Monday urged the government to let small shops open immediately, as daily income flow of petty retailers has stopped completely since the lockdown, and sought compensation for their income losses.

Claiming to represent four crore micro, small and medium retailers from across the country with membership of 34 retail associations, FRAI said all the capital of these small retailers is tied up in the stocks of unsold products because of the lockdown.

They are now having to dip into small savings to survive in order to purchase food to support their family members.

Pleading with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “empathise with the hardships” faced by its members, FRAI President Ram Asre Mishra said they must be allowed to “open their shops immediately”.

“We also appeal to the Hon’ble Prime Minister to immediately announce an economic package to compensate the losses of the petty retailers in their daily income under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana,” he added.

Mishra wondered “while big grocery shops selling essential commodities are allowed to operate during the lockdown, why should our small shopkeeper brothers, who also sell similar goods of daily public needs, be deprived to earn their livelihood.”

FRAI said the closure of such shops micro, small and medium shops during the current lockdown on account of coronavirus pandemic has completely stopped the daily inflow of the petty retailers’ income.

The association further said that March to June are the important months for small retailers to earn extra money and save. Sale of all the products sold from their shops picks up during this period.

“Unfortunately, this lockdown has come at the time of the peak months for them and they have already given up the hope to make extra income during the peak season. These poor individuals and their families are now facing certain poverty and survival challenges,” it said.

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