Facing huge losses due to the ban of gutkha and paan masala,sellers ranging from small roadside stalls to bigger paan shops have stopped buying new stock in the last 5 days. Looking forward to selling other wares,shopkeepers are busy collaborating with retailers and wholesalers of other products. I have stopped buying gutkha in the last three days and have been trying to sell off stock since the paper packaging doesnt allow storing the item. There is a little excess stock,but suppliers have assured us that we can return it and get our money back, says Madhav Diwadiga,owner of a stall at Tapri on FC Road.
Most sellers are now keeping other items such as paan and mawa which have already become a hit with the customers. Javed Bagwan,who owns a paan and cigarette shop at Shivajinagar says,During our fathers times,gutkha had not entered the market. We only sold paan,but now that we are losing a majority of our profits due to the ban,we have to take steps and include running items in our business.
Chinese items such as key chains,pens and torches are some of the things we are thinking of keeping for the daily passengers who catch buses from the area.
Some shop owners are considering starting completely different ventures. Ramesh Shetty who owns a paan store near the Shivajinagar bus stop is busy converting it to a variety store,which keeps household utilities as well as mouth freshners and paan. He contends,I have already started keeping toothpastes,soaps and shampoos. Customers have not warmed up to the idea of substituting gutkha with other products but we are hoping that it will happen and business will pick up soon.