With the onset of winter in Delhi, flea markets are usually packed with enthusiastic shoppers. But the business is bleak this time, and vendors blame it on the blanket of smog hovering on Delhi-NCR.
“Naya stock aaya pada hai, par log ghar se nikalna nahi chahte iss pollution mein (New stock is here but no one wants to shop in this pollution). As opposed to the rush every year, this time we’re sitting idle,” says Rajpal Sharma, who has a stall in Janpath. Shops in Lajpat Nagar and Sarojini Nagar market are equally affected.
“Arrival of winter is the peak time for us. We get maximum customers because prices are low at this time. Once it’s colder, the demand is high and so are the prices. But we’re not getting more than 10-15 customers a day. “If this continues, we’ll have to shut shop,” says Sanjay Mohan, a shopkeeper in Sarojini Nagar.
The other side: A ‘puff’ of joy
Whatever the reason may be, a leave from school, college or office always makes one happy. After some schools in Delhi-NCR decided to remain shut owing to the alarming levels of pollution, office employees are now getting the work-from-home option.
“Putting employees first is very important. We announced a three day work from home policy for our employees. There are 700 employees based out of Gurgaon. And in the start-up world, employee health and productivity is our main focus. We felt that productivity and health is affected, people’s eyes were burning, throat was itchy too,” says Amrish Rau, CEO, of PayU India, the Gurgaon branch of which has given its employees an option to work from home for three days.
Dimple Mehta from Kalkaji (in Delhi) is rejoiced with the option. “Delhi is as bad as Gurgaon in terms of air quality. I have not been keeping well because of smog, and I am working from home. There was low attendance at office, people were coughing and sneezing. We were given masks at the office on Monday and were instructed that our work should not suffer and given the option to work from home,” she says.