Fancy Bazar business takes a dip this Durga Puja
GUWAHATI: With the Durga Puja spirit already consuming the city and right ahead of the last weekend before the end of puja, Fancy Bazar- the city's central trade hub - has been witnessing a slump in the sales this year.
Although the market was seen to be packed with customers a few days before the puja, the shop owners and traders have claimed that they are not making as much profit this year as compared to the previous years.
So much so, that some of the traders have informed that their profits have declined by around 20% and in some cases, even by 40%.
Nirmal Dudhoria, a business-owner at Fancy Bazar, informed G Plus that his sales went down by 15-20% this year as compared to the last few years.
“The footfall of customers has decreased and the sales have also been hit drastically in some cases,” he said adding that a lot of shoppers also look for products within a low budget and as a result, they end up not buying anything.
Further, some traders also feel that online shopping and the increasing mall culture in the city, has had its role to play in the lower sales. In addition to this, almost all major e-commerce websites offer heavy discounts during the festive season.
“People love shopping online sitting in the comforts of their own homes as it is very convenient for them and they also get a wide variety of products to choose from. Also, the malls in the city are witnessing consistent profit and sales,” said a shoe shop owner at Fancy Bazar whose profits have gone down by 15% this year.
Some traders claimed that rain also played spoilsport in the run up to the puja as the city experienced continuous drizzle on Thursday and Friday much to the discomfort of shoppers and traders alike.
Further, the traders at SS Road which is packed with roadside vendors, complained that their profits, too, have been grim this year.
In April this year, the hawkers on the stretch of the SS Road at the market were asked to vacate by the Guwahati Municipal Corporation following a High Court order. The High Court orders which was against them left them high and dry. They now set up their stock on roadside only to immediately wrap up and flee when the GMC officials and the police come to chase them away, only to resume their shops a few minutes later.
“We have been facing a lot of trouble as the officials come to chase us often. We don’t know where to go and have been suffering losses,” Vimal Deb, a vendor selling women’s clothes told G Plus.
On the other hand, vendors selling snacks seem to be among the few whose business is flourishing during the puja time.
A vendor selling eatables such as chowmein, dahi vada and chaat mentioned that he does brisk business this time of the year.
“I invest around Rs 15,000 in the business and get an overall sale of around Rs 25000. Puja, Diwali, Christmas and New Year time is usually a good period when the customers almost double for me,” said Vimal Sahu, who has been putting up the stall in the market for the past 20 years.
Congested roads deter shoppers from entering Fancy Bazar
Harassed by parking constraints in and around Fancy Bazar, the residents as well as traders had carried out a campaign to demand better parking facilities in the market area for the convenience of the shoppers as well as traders.
They had demanded the district administration to open up the existing old central jail campus and to utilise it for parking purpose. The shop-owners informed that with the ongoing festive season, Fancy Bazar and nearby areas remain heavily congested due to the shoppers thronging the markets.
Further, after the campaign, the district administration opened up the jail premises to allow parking till Kali Puja.
However, even after the old central jail premises have been opened up, the customers still do not seem keen to enter the congested lanes of the Fancy Bazar to complete their puja shopping.
“Even though the jail premise has been opened up, the vendors and carts selling eateries clog the entire stretch of road across the Fancy Bazar. This leads to a very narrow space being left for the people to navigate in,” said Dudhoria.
He added that many customers say that they are scared of even entering the Bazar area for the fear of huge crowds in cramped spaces.
“These carts and tempos are parked on the roads for loading stock, and they occupy a lot of space, giving customers a harrowing experience. The same is the case with footpaths where small carts end up taking the majority of the space,” said Dudhoria.