Protests at Delhi’s Singhu and Tikri borders have had a ripple effect on businesses in the area, with those selling automobile and phone parts as well as warm clothes seeing an increase in demand even as several other establishments witness a dip.
Situated at the GT Karnal Highway, Singhu border is a hub of shops that sell automobile parts, restaurants and petrol pumps. Since the blockade, many shops have remained shut, while some started opening a week into the stir.
Vivek, who manages an automobile accessories shop around 100 metres from the police barricades, said that for the past two weeks, there has been an increase in sales of tractor equipment since thousands of farmers have come in tractor trolleys. “On an average there are 15-20 customers every day. This is definitely better since there was virtually no business during Covid,” he said.
Several temporary establishments have also come up near the border. Firoz, who sells winter clothes, said, “I usually set up a shop in Jahangirpuri but came here on Monday. Since morning there have been some sales. I offer jackets and sweaters at an affordable price. They don’t have a lot of money to spare so we offer them a good discount.”
Another hit among farmers is mobile accessories. “Screen guards and covers are selling more than usual. Several farmers have issues with their phones and we are the closest place to get anything repaired,” said Deepak, who runs a phone repair shop.
The narrow lane leading to the border is also thronged by shops selling juice, fruits, vegetables and momos — though not everyone is seeing brisk business. Rajesh, who runs a tea stall, said: “We keep hearing langars are self-sufficient. I’m selling less tea and snacks than I used to.”
On Rohtak Road at the Tikri border, several shops catering primarily to the nearby industries, have seen a drop in business. Rajinder Aggarwal, who runs a generator store on Rohtak Road, says that his business is currently “zero”. “I had closed my shop for three days when the protest began but reopened on 29th. Since then I have seen no sales,” he said.
Rajesh Kumar, who runs a hardware shop, said that while demand from industries is drying up, the little sales he has now is from the protesting farmers. “I have about 40% of the business I used to get, and that too is from sale of electric items and nuts and bolts to the farmers,” he said.
Here, too, eateries aren’t seeing much business. “Factory workers and people on vehicles would stop at langars to eat. My business is down to around 25%,” said Rudal Rai Yadav, who runs Nilu ka Dhaba on the road.
“Business from locals has gone down, perhaps they are a little reluctant to venture out. Many protesters have been coming to buy sweaters or shirts, but I am selling at cost price,” said Satish Kumar, who runs a garment store.
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