Business Bureau :
The recent restrictions imposed to curb the fast spreading coronavirus have not only dampened the festive mood of citizens but also spoiled the business prospects. According to a rough estimate, trade to the tune of over Rs 100 crore could have been lost during the current festival season. As the sense of jubilation and cheer among the citizens was missing on the eve of Holi festival, sale of ‘pichkaris’, Holi colours and other items has taken a back seat on Sunday evening, sources said. Though people were seen buying Holi colours and pichkari at some pockets in the morning hours on Sunday, it does not go with the temperament of the people of Nagpur who usually throng the markets in festive season. Traditionally, a heavy rush of buyers is seen at all the markets in the city.
In normal circumstances, one could see people thronging shops offering colours, pichkaris, masks, caps, sweets and other items till late in evening on the previous day of the Holi. B C Bhartia, National President of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) told The Hitavada, that there was fear and confusion among the traders dealing in Holi items. “Anticipating low demand, many traders did not place fresh orders for pichkari and Holi colours and they just pushed the old stock in the markets. The restrictions have certainly impacted the city’s small traders and those who are engaged in seasonal businesses,” he said. Bhartia also said that the sale of food items and sweets has also suffered a major blow due to uncertainty in the markets on account of the coronavirus.
Wholesalers based in the city supply Holi items to sellers located in many adjoining places like Bhandara, Gondia, Wardha, etc. One of the retailers based in Sadar, on a condition of anonymity, said he had witnessed about 80 per cent drop in the business. “Usually, we start selling these items about 15 days before the festival and the sale is at its peak on the eve of Holi. But in the current season, there was confusion among all of us with regard to the lockdown,” said the retailer, adding that he could sell pichkaris and colour packets worth Rs 5,000 in the last one week. “Under the normal circumstances, I could have done business of at least Rs 50,000,” he highlighted. Holi is a festival when people come together to exchange greetings and spend time together. Special Holi delicacies are prepared during the festival in almost every home. Besides, there is also good demand for cold drinks, ice-creams, chocolates and other items during Holi.