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Festive business hit by blasts

The recent terror attacks coupled with inflation have hit business in the Capital during the festive season, reports Tanya Ashreena.

delhi Updated: Oct 02, 2008 00:24 IST
Tanya Ashreena

The recent terror attacks coupled with inflation have hit business in the Capital during the festive season.

This is the beginning of a long festive season with Navratras, Durga Puja, and Eid all falling in the beginning of October. Diwali too is round the corner.

But even though the atmosphere is of celebration, traders are not really raking in big bucks this year.

Secretary General of Confederation of All India Traders Praveen Khandelwal said the blasts have spread insecurity amongst both customers and traders.

“The festive turnout, which is normally an increase of 30-40 per cent in shoppers, is missing. There has been also been a 30-40 per cent decline in routine sales. There used to be 5 lakh outstation traders coming into Delhi daily. Now, they are going to other states and experiencing losses in procurement,” he said.

He added that markets in Delhi were experiencing continued losses at a time when they had expected to make more profit.

The Greater Kailash-1 M-Block Market has been a favourite haunt for Durga Puja shoppers. But the September 13 blasts have made it anything but popular. “We have seen a definite decrease in the number of customers,” said Rajendra Sharda, president of GK-1 Main Market Welfare Association.

“Firstly, because of inflation, high-scale consumption was already being avoided. Then, because of blasts, the crowds have thinned. As consumers feel security in markets is not foolproof, the traders are left empty-handed. They are suffering losses of up to 40 per cent,” Sharda said. He also pointed out jewellery shops in GK-1 are the worst hit. “They are the real losers, as people do not go jewellery shopping everyday, but mostly during the festive and marriage season,” he said.

One of the traditional areas for Eid-shopping, Karol Bagh has witnessed few customers. “Since Saturday, we have not had many shoppers. Shopping for Eid has been only 25 per cent of what it was last year. Nearly all shops are full of unsold gift items,” said Harish Chitkara, president of MCD Traders’ Association.

Sarojini Nagar too has seen a massive decline in visitors. “Shopkeepers here have suffered as much as 50 per cent loss,” said Ashok Randhawa, president of Sarojini Nagar Market Traders’ Association.

“It is unfortunate, as before the start of the festive period, shopkeepers stock up on jewellery and clothing, expecting massive sale. Now, they will face huge losses while selling them on discount after the season is over. Also, clothing and jewellery fast run out of fashion, so shopkeepers will have a tough time selling them too,” he said.