Chinese products remain in demand despite forceful efforts to ban them
Amid calls from various sections to boycott the sale of Chinese products, shopkeepers in Guwahati selling electronic items during Diwali feel that no force can stop the sale of Chinese products in Guwahati and in India. A shop owner in Fancy Bazar, Kalim Solanki, who sells decorative lights and other electronic items said, “The administration officials visited our shops and even the Bajrang Dal workers took out a rally in Fancy Bazar asking not to sell Chinese products but I challenge all and say that no one can stop sale of Chinese products especially during a festival like Diwali.” Solanki said that he asked an officer of the administration how they can stop selling Chinese products when all the big dealers and wholesalers are providing only Chinese products.
According to Solanki, there is only one or two types of decorative lights made in India and the quality of those lights are not good. Even customers do not prefer to purchase those lights. He said that the jell rice lights which are mostly used during Diwali are produced both in India and China, and the Indian lights have poor quality bulbs whereas the Chinese jell rice lights have LED bulbs and come in various colours with options of various effects. Similarly, there are other lights like the disco and laser lights which are only produced by China. Solanki clarified that they purchase the lights from wholesale dealers like Eastern Trade Agencies and if the government has to stop the sale of Chinese products, the dealers have to be first stopped from selling the same.
Similarly, many other shopkeepers in Guwahati sell Chinese decorative items and all are of the view that Chinese products cannot be banned unless the government stops the import and no force can stop the sale of such products. There are many social media campaigns running after the BJP came to power asking people to stop sale and purchase of Chinese products but many Guwahatians feel that it is just a political campaign and the government can stop the sale only if import is stopped.
No option other than Chinese products
The shopkeepers’ line of thought is that while the administration and organisations like Bajrang Dal ask the shopkeepers not to sell Chinese products why are they not stopping the dealers from bringing the products from places like Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai? A wholesale dealer, Amit Agarwal, owner of Eastern Trade Agencies said, “There is no option other than Chinese products.” He said that all the electronic items are mostly made in China and they don’t have any other option but to purchase. He said that it is nothing but a political campaign and unless India starts manufacturing these products people will have to keep purchasing Chinese products. He said that as a distributor he has to fulfil the demands and during Diwali all the decorative items are brought from the big markets based in Delhi, Kolkata etc, where only Chinese products are available.
He claimed that for the next 15 years India cannot do without Chinese products and only when India starts manufacturing such items and the government stops the import the administration and Bajrang Dal will be able to stop the sale. He said that there used to be a time when illegal Chinese products where available in the market which used to be brought in without proper papers and most of them were smuggled. But now, after GST and other government policies, it is very difficult for the smugglers to smuggle in such products. So whatever products are available are legal even if these are Chinese. He said as a dealer he cannot afford to do illegal business and he proudly claimed that he sells Chinese products and will keep selling them.
Bajrang Dal claims to ban it completely by next year
After failing to bar the sale this year Bajrang Dal claims it will definitely ban the sale of Chinese products next year. Talking to G Plus, Bajrang Dal Guwahati Zila Sonjujak, Deepjyoti Sarma said, “The sale of Chinese products is less this year and next year we will completely ban it.” He said that the body had submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner and the administration had assured them that illegal Chinese products will not be allowed to be sold in Guwahati markets. He said that the organisation had carried out rallies in places like Fancy Bazar and other markets to inform the people not to buy or sell Chinese items and the sale is lesser this year. On informing him that all the decorative lights and electronic items sold in Guwahati are China made, he said that this year they might have failed but next year they will ensure that the sale of Chinese items are completely banned. Regarding asking the government to stop the import, the Bajrang Dal leader did not want to comment anything.
Jell rice lights are produced both in India and China; the Indian lights have poor quality bulbs whereas the Chinese jell rice lights have LED bulbs and come in various colours with options of various effects.
Meanwhile a source in the district administration, talking to G Plus, said that they raided many shops but did not recover any illegal Chinese items in the markets. The source added that the fire crackers sold this year are all made in India and only the electronic items are Chinese. Last year many shopkeepers had complained that the administration had harassed the sellers who were selling Chinese-made electronic items and the administration had claimed that they had seized items which were without papers. The source said that this year all such electronic items are legal and cannot be seized.
So the campaign against Chinese products by the BJP-run government and their allies like Bajrang Dal has gone in vain and instead of carrying out such campaigns the government should facilitate manufacture of such products in India so that people have options and also do not face any kind of harassment.
Brisk sale of Chinese lights at Fancy Bazar | G PLus Photo