Festive sales in Old Delhi’s Sadar Bazar get hit by Covid-19 too

No one thought that there would be a time when shops in Asia’s biggest wholesale market would be empty amid the festive time! But that’s what pandemic has done to us – made us experience the unbelievable. The business in Old Delhi’s Sadar Bazar has certainly affected. During Raksha Bandhan, a market that used to be overcrowded had a different look this year. A dip in the sales have been reported by the shopkeepers, who took different routes to manage their losses. Ansh from Ansh Rakhi Bhandar says, “We used to get rakhi from Rajkot and Gujarat every year, but this time neither could we go there nor they came here aur upar se Chinese samaan pe ban lag gaya tha. So, I decided to not sell rakhis this year. Based on the situation in 2021, I will decide my future plans, but right now, we are not focusing on our main business. Our entire focus is on Diwali and we are busy in manufacturing items for it right now.”

There are some who were selling rakhis like every year and even managed to convince their customers to visit their shops by assuring that they were taking all the necessary safety precautions. Mahavir Gupta, from a rakhi store in Sadar, says, “We had thought of taking virtual route but it’s not possible. If we made a PDF of rakhis to help our customers choose from home, the PDF would be a never-ending one! If one rakhi costs ₹30, then there are about 40 designs in it; and we sell rakhis from ₹30 to ₹300! That’s why we advised our regular customers to come to the shop taking a cab, and we helped them in every way we could so that they don’t face difficulty in finding a transport back home since Delhi Metro is still not operating.”

A lot of shops that were completely shut in Old Delhi. “It’s hard to say who sold rakhi this year and who didn’t because half of the market was shut and half was open. Those who came here, I suggested them to check with the shopkeeper once if they came to shop from a particular shop,” adds Ansh.

The whole situation slowed down the sale of rakhi this year and affected the wholesale business badly. Anuj Gupta, a shopkeeper, says, “Due to the pandemic, we didn’t have many new items this year. Also, the number of customers reduced drastically. Most of the people took to buying rakhis online as they were trying to avoid visiting the market, no matter how much we tried to ensure them that we are taking all precautions at our end.”

Author tweets @ruchikagarg271

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