Jaipur markets open after 71 days, witness lukewarm response
Lockdown restrictions were enforced in the walled city from March 22, three days before the Centre imposed them.Updated: Jun 01, 2020 19:40 IST
Markets opened in Jaipur’s walled city on Monday after 71 days of closure due to lockdown restrictions, which were imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, amid a lukewarm response from the customers.
Lockdown restrictions were enforced in the walled city from March 22, three days before the Centre imposed them.
A palpable fear of the pandemic was evident as customers were few and far between with shopkeepers idling away their time in most of the shops in the congested walled city. Almost all markets were opened in the walled city, except a few that were denied permission by the state government because they are located in congested lanes, where maintaining social distancing norms is a tall order.
Bookshops and grocery wholesalers did reasonable business on the first day since the resumption of economic activities.
“We’ve opened the shop with the hope that business will be back as usual. We’re hopeful that business will be back on track over the next two-three months,” said Saurabh Phagiwala, who owns a jewellery shop in Tripolia bazaar.
Jitendra Hassani, a garment retailer at Johari Baazar, rued the absence of a lack of customers amid “a curfew-like environment”. “At present, consumers are only thronging the grocery stores, especially the wholesalers,” he said.
Ashok Kumar, a customer, who was seen patiently standing in a queue at a grocery store in Badi Chaupat while maintaining social distancing norms. “I’ve come to buy a month’s ration in a bid to avoid frequent movement. Besides, the prices are reasonable in the walled city markets,” he said.
Ajay Agarwal, president, Johari Baazar Vyapar Mandal, said customers were missing on the first day.
“People are still living in fear about the viral outbreak. People are only venturing out because of their daily needs. The sale is not encouraging even in markets that are located outside the walled city in Jaipur. The business prospects don’t appear promises in the coming days, as most consumers are avoiding unnecessary purchases,” he said.
He attributed the weak consumption pattern to the Covid-19 outbreak and its cascading effect on people’s financial conditions. “The situation may improve only next year,” he added.
Rajendra Gupta, president, Tripolia Baazar Vyapar Mandal, too, didn’t exude much confidence about an immediate recovery of business prospects. “It’ll take another around three months for businesses to gain some momentum,” he said.