The 10-day-long Shilpotsav festival, which started on Tuesday, has received a lukewarm response so far from residents of Noida despite 200 stalls being featured at the venue, inviting artisans from different states as well as Thailand.
Saturday afternoon saw a meagre crowd at Noida Stadium in Sector 21 A as stall owners tried there level best to woo customers.
A dejected Bilal Shah from Pahalgam, Kashmir, recalled how over the years, the handicraft festival in Noida has been seeing a dwindling crowd. Shah runs a cloths’ stall that sells Kashmiri embroidered shawls, kurtas, sheets and patloons.
“Last year, we had a better crowd and my stall was thronging with customers. This year, we have not done any business at all. We hope that the scenario will improve by Sunday,” Shah said.
Ajay, a stall owner of ‘mouth fresheners’, was seen pleading to the media personnel to give a ‘positive’ coverage to the festival so that the crowd comes in.
“We have more than 100 varieties of mouth fresheners, digestive tablets, candies and chooran. The business has been terrible in the first three days. We request the media to give the festival some positive coverage so that more people visit the fair,” he said.
Fashion designer and entrepreneur Zara, who runs ‘Hot Pink’ kurti stall, also feels dejected by the lukewarm response. Zara sells Pakistani embroidered kurtis in Noida
“The demand for Pakistani ethnic kurtis has been high both in Delhi and NCR. Yet, there has been no response from the public over the past two days,” said Zara.
The ticket vendor at the entrance gate said that a total of 1,200 tickets were sold on Tuesday, the opening day.
“On an average, nearly 1,000 tickets are sold every day. At this rate, we might not see more than 10,000 tickets being sold the entire week,” he said.
PK Agarwal, chairman of Noida Authority, said the authority will make an effort to increase the footfall at the festival.
“It is true that the festival has not got a good response. We will try to contact residents’ welfare association so that through their initiative, more people turn up at the fair,” Agarwal said.