The Capital’s party lovers have been served yet another blow thanks to the Commonwealth Games. Most major dandiya events — one of the highlights of the festive season— are being forced to shift out of Delhi. Not only are several venues booked for the Games, organisers say that procuring adequate security arrangements is a major problem, since most of the city’s security force is busy with the Games.
Five of the biggest dandiya events have been called off or forced to shift to Noida or Gurgaon, and the organisers have already suffered losses of an estimated Rs10 crore.“We were denied permission to hold the dandiya night in Delhi, so we had no option but to move to Gurgaon. Last year, we had organised it at a mall in Delhi but, this time, (Delhi) malls, too, do not have the permission,” says Jagdeep Rana, who’s been in the business for 20 years.
For organisers in the NCR, this is good news. “We expect a huge footfall from Delhi due to lack of options there,” says Piyush Pushpak of the Great India Place mall, Noida, which is also hosting a dandiya festival.
Businesses that thrive during the dandiya season are suffering losses. “There has been a 25-30% loss this year. The markets were closed for three days because of CWG, so sales obviously haven’t been looking up,” says Inder Kumar of Lajpat Nagar’s Vishal Rajasthan Emporium, which sells and rents out dandiya dance costumes.
“We have sold only 50 costumes so far. It has been the dullest season, with only 10% business as compared to previous years,” says Rajiv Gupta, owner of Vatika Costumes in Janakpuri.
Music groups have also been hit. “We have been performing at dandiya nights for 20 years. This is the first time that we’re
not performing. Each member in our 10-member troupe would otherwise earn around R10,000 in the nine-day period,” says Babli Srivastava of the band Shivanks.
Even as residential complexes do their own dandiya nights, it’s no good news for city-wallahs. “We don’t allow outsiders in our events. It is for our residents only,” says Vikas Joshi of Gujarat Apartments in Pitampura.
All the cut–backs
Rs20 crore: Approximate value of Delhi’s dandiya industry
Rs10 crore: Estimate loss suffered due to cancellation of over five large public dandiya nights
80%: Loss in business of rental shops that give out costumes for hire
Sales of traditional costumes down from an average of 500 a day to 24 in three days
Traditional dandiya troops and orchestra performers out of work this season
All dandiya parties to be wrapped up before midnight, unlike previous years when they went on for much longer.