A man cleaning the corridor before opening a shop at the Plaza in Sector 17 in Chandigarh on Tuesday.(Ravi Kumar/HT)
A man cleaning the corridor before opening a shop at the Plaza in Sector 17 in Chandigarh on Tuesday.(Ravi Kumar/HT)

Lockdown 4.0: Chandigarh’s Sector 17, other markets open to poor response

Shopkeepers complaining that their goods had gotten damaged during the lockdown
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Rajanbir Singh, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON MAY 20, 2020 01:33 AM IST

The markets in Chandigarh’s Sector 17 including those on Madhya Marg and in Sector 35 opened up on Tuesday for the first time since lockdown was declared in the city. However, the response remained lukewarm, with shopkeepers complaining that their goods had gotten damaged during the lockdown.

The owner of Chandigarh Sports in Sector 17, Harkesh Kathuria, seen cleaning his shop at 11am, said, “The shop was covered in cobwebs and dust. The sales in my other shop at Sector 20 remained higher than that in Sector 17, with carrom boards and badminton rackets the most popular as people continued to spend time indoors.”

Proprietor of Sindhi Sweets in Sector 17, Neeraj Bajaj, said, “We have used ultraviolet light to sanitise our sweets but sales remained below 10% of those on an average day. Many festival gift hampers left in the shop before lockdown have expired. Sector 17 was closed two days before the lockdown. We hardly got time to take all the perishables,” he said.

Rats have also become a big problem in Sector 17, with some shopkeepers complaining that the wiring in their shops had been gnawed off by rodents. Sanjeev Chaddha, who sells leather products in the sector, said, “We had left the exhaust fans running during the lockdown, otherwise , rats and fungus would have eaten into our products.”

Ajay Gulati, co-owner of Empire Stores, a grocery outlet, was greeted by expired stock of exotic fruits and vegetables when he had reopened. However, he said footfall had increased on Tuesday as compared to before.

NO CUSTOMERS IN CONGESTED MARKETS

While city’s congested markets like Shastri Market in Sector 22, Sadar Bazaar in Sector 19 and the motor markets of Sector 48 and Manimajra also opened for the first time since the lockdown on Tuesday, there was barely any footfall. President of Sadar Bazaar, Narinder Singh, said, “Shopkeepers had opened the booths as per the odd-even norm, but there was no customer.” President of the Sector 48 motor market, Kamal Suri, added that the shopkeepers used free time to repair the wiring that rats had eaten into.

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