With temperatures dipping by the day, number of people flocking woollen wear shops is steadily increasing. A horde of Tibetan families have descended on the city with an enticing range of woollens. Rama Talkies in Gandhi Nagar, Vijayawada is popular for low-cost woollen clothes sold by Tibetan families.

This year, there is a slight change in their business area as many of them found place on canal bund on Sambamurthy Road very close to their usual ‘adda’, Rama Talkies.

The season generally begins in October and extends up to January. There are 14 shops near Rama Talkies, while 18 on Sambamurthy Road. The price of sweaters, shawls and pullovers is above Rs.130. “If one thinks that trendy and fashionable winter wears are found only in the branded showrooms, they have to visit our stalls. They will definitely get the same satisfaction and save a few rupees too. The enticing range of colours and designs tempt even the most penny-pincher to grab a winter wear,” says Lhakey Dolma.

About 35 families, who come here from Odisha, share the space here. They have formed an association so as to ensure undue competition does not hit their relations and business. By no chance, the pullovers are sold less than fixed price by community elder. Most strikingly, the shops are allotted on rotation basis every three days. This is to make sure that everyone would have locational advantage or disadvantage, says Dorjee, leader of the group.

“Generally people tend to calls us Nepalese but, we are not. We stay in the Tibetan refugee settlements provided by the Indian Government,” he says.

The vendors say that they place orders six to seven months in advance and bring large varieties of woollens in bulk. Most of them are machine-made since it’s difficult for us to go for the hand knitted ones in such huge quantities. The margin of profit varies every year. Last year literally there were no sales and everyone incurred huge losses as the stock was purchased on bank loans. The season has just started this year and the sales have to pick up,” says a woman vendor.

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