There is a strong sentiment in the trading community in Punjab’s industrial hub to shift the Sunday lockdown to any other weekday. This despite the fact that government has amended its previous order to allow work to continue till 8 pm on Saturday, instead of 5 pm earlier.
Hosiery and Garment Traders Association of Ludhiana, which caters to the entire north India, has given a representation twice to the Deputy Commissioner and even to CM Amarinder Singh. In addition to this, many retail markets like popular Chaura Bazar market have also urged the authorities to do the same.
Surinder Kumar Sharma, President of Hosiery and Traders Association of Ludhiana, under which many wholesale markets are operating in Ludhiana, said, “Our customers come not only from Punjab, but also from Himachal, J&K and other areas. Sunday is a day when they have ample time and can do shopping. But this is not happening. This way, we are losing out on business as not many of us have upgraded online environment and even our clients are sticking to old practices.”
Wholesale hosiery markets are in Dal Bazar, Purana Bazar, Rai Bahadur Road, Hindi Bazar, AC market, Akal Market, Gandhi Nagar areas where over 5,000 shops are located. All these markets are in narrow lanes of old city of Ludhiana and have been working in this fashion from decades.
Sharma added, “Now next month Bakrid is coming. Earlier clients from J&K used to come and do bulk purchasing. Now borders have been sealed. Moreover, Sunday is closed. ..We are ready to close our shops on Monday as well as Tuesday, but allow us to work on Sunday.”
Sumit Bharti, general secretary of the Purana Bazar Wholesale Garments Association, said,”Our 70 per cent sale happens on Sundays. So, we want markets to open on Sunday. Most of our clients want to feel the fabric by touching it themselves, thus not much sale is happening online.”
Sources revealed that many wholesalers, who are not ready to upgrade themselves, are in fear of losing their business to the ones who have made their websites and are even updating them from time to time. Rajinder Syal, a wholesaler from Talaab Bazar market, said,”Our market caters to costume jewellery, make up kits and other general store items, we are trying to pitch our sales online. But it is a pinch of what we used to sell earlier. Normally, customer used to come on Sunday morning and leave the city by evening after doing purchasing as their own shops are open on rest days of the week. We hope that Sunday lockdown restriction will be lifted soon.”
Chaura Bazar, a popular retail market of Ludhiana, too has shopkeepers stating that with purchasing power of people already limited, Sunday closure would prove a double whammy.
Shopkeepers added that customers have an off-day on Sunday and government must think about loss of business as well.
Meanwhile, a popular “pherri market” is also set up in Chaura Bazar on Sundays, which invites a huge rush. Meanwhile
Ludhiana DC Varinder Kumar Sharma said,”We are not going to do any local innovation or dilution. As of now, state policy of Sunday lockdown will prevail.”
Earlier, Punjab government had decided to do weekend lockdown and even on gazetted holidays.
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