With rain playing spoilsport, petty traders hoping to recover their investments during the season, much of it on credit, have been left in the lurch

The advent of Ramzan has brought no cheers for Qameruddin, a roadside trader at Pathergatti. The mad rush is missing this year, and the threat of dull business looms large.

“The rains are playing spoilsport. I doubt if I will be able to recover my investment and celebrate Eid,” he says.

About a thousand-odd small-time traders line the stretch from Madina Building to Shahalibanda every year.

This Ramzan, the many opportunities available for traders who hope to make a quick buck, look uncertain.

With investments ranging from Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 25,000, traders try to make the most of the season selling apparels, household articles, imitation jewellery, skull caps, eatables and much more.

“Even though Ramzan began in the second week of July, people are not venturing out. A few who come for shopping, visit the big shops and go back,” says Sattar, who set up a children’s apparel shop at Gulzar Houz.

On Sunday — ten days into Ramzan — the sky cleared, drawing crowds, only to witness a lull on Monday due to intermittent rainfall.

Most traders who have engaged workers to meet the rush are now finding it difficult to pay their wages.

“I ended up paying my earnings from the last five days as wages to the salesmen,” says Rafi Ahmed, a trader who sells imitation jewellery.

Having borrowed money from private financers and chit fund operators, lackadaisical sales would leave them in peril.

“There is no option for us but to approach them for money. We have to return it or pay heavy interest,” a trader says.

However, they have not lost hope.

“The festival is still a fortnight away and the situation may change in the coming days. After all, this is a pious month and our prayers will not go unanswered,” says Syed Altaf, a pushcart vendor.

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