Lucknow: Rattled by strong opposition to its decision to close all shops and malls by 7 p.m. for the next 15 days due to the acute power shortage in the state, the Uttar Pradesh government on Monday withdrew the order and said these establishments will do business as usual.
Drawing flak for its "unreasonable order" from both opposition parties and traders' associations who even proposed day-long protests June 20, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mohammad Azam Khan said the state government had only "suggested" and had not "ordered" the closure of shops and malls by 7 p.m.
With the assembly in session, the government was put on the mat right away as the house met at 11 a.m.. The opposition legislators slammed the move and sought to know why districts like Mainpuri, Etawah, Kannauj and Rampur were being given special treatment even as the entire state was faced with an unprecedented power crisis.
BJP's chief whip Radhamohan Das Agarwal called the order irrational. The BJP members were joined by Congress legislators who started shouting anti-government slogans, before both groups of legislators staged a walk-out.
BJP state spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak said the state government has completely failed in rescuing the state from the power supply "chaos" and was coming up with options that were neither rational nor practical.
Congress spokesman Ram Kumar Bhargava said the "shut-by-7 p.m." decision of the Akhilesh Yadav government was a hasty one, and that before resorting to any such measure the government should put an end to the use of air-conditioners in state government offices and VVIP colonies.
Rashtriya Lok Dal spokesman Anil Dubey also criticised the government for issuing such an order.
Faced with a staggering 2,500 MW power shortfall, the Uttar Pradesh government Sunday ordered all shops and malls across the state to close at 7 p.m. According to the spokesman of the labour department, all shops and malls, barring medical shops, were asked to open between 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The restaurants and food joints in the state also were asked to do business only between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. Officials said the order was necessitated by the sharp 2,500 MW electricity shortfall in the state.