Special Correspondent

Vendors have descended on the East Fort area, appropriating every available portion on the prime stretches of the thoroughfare

Thiruvananthapuram: It may be early days for the Onam festival season, but street vendors have set up shop in the commercial areas of the city. Footpath vendors from neighbouring States have descended in hordes on the East Fort area, appropriating every available portion on the prime stretches of the thoroughfare to make the most of the festival shopping spree.

The whole area wears the look of a bustling roadside market, with the vendors putting up temporary tarpaulin shades to escape the blazing heat. Most of the stalls sell readymade dresses at incredibly cheap rates. "We are not competing with reputed shops or branded goods. Customers throng our stalls only because we sell at dirt cheap prices. Quality is not an issue for our clients," says a vendor.

The range of materials on offer includes jeans, saris, dhotis, shirts and kids wear. Bargaining is encouraged.

A major chunk of the clientele for roadside stalls is from the outlying wards and suburban panchayats. Vendors say they have adopted an early bird approach to regain the advantage from the festival discount fairs and melas conducted by organised traders.

The city corporation and the police have adopted an accommodative approach to the traders who usually pack up and leave by the end of the season.

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