TIRUCHI: Festival trade reached a feverish pitch at the city’s commercial centres on the eve of Deepavali.
Milling crowds inched their way across the N.S.B.Road, Singatharope, Big Bazaar Street and Nandhikovil Street, the city’s central business district, all through the day. Business houses were overflowing with festival shoppers. Hundreds of hawkers had spread their wares, a prominent attraction for shoppers at the eleventh hour.
After a sluggish start, the festival trade had gained momentum only over the past 10 days, after the disbursement of bonus by major companies and government agencies. For farmers it has not been a bad year altogether, though it may not have been a particularly bounteous season. Money circulation among the farming community reflects in the festival trade here as they constitute an important group of clients for the traders in the city. Traders reported a surge in business only towards the end of the festival season.
While textile houses overflowed with festival shoppers over the past few days, long queues were witnessed at the sweet stalls on Wednesday. Despite the restrictions on roadside cracker shops, there has been a surprising increase in the number of cracker shops in the city this year with several private and cooperative supermarket chains entering the business. But the rising prices of crackers seemed to have hit the trade if the thin crowds at the shops were any indication.
Pat for police
Meanwhile, the city police have come in for some unusual praise for their effective crowd control measures this year. The installation of a series of surveillance cameras along NSB Road, Big Bazaar Street and Chinnakadai Veedhi and the constant prodding and caution over the public address system network made for better crowd management and in checking crimes as well. “The police deserve a pat in their back for the good work this year,” said Ve. Govindarajulu, general secretary, Tamil Nadu Traders Federation.
The State Transport Corporations too seemed to have done better this year, operating specials to cater to the demand. With all trains being booked to capacity, a large number of commuters had to depend on the buses. Buses operating on the Tiruchi-Chennai, Tiruchi-Coimbatore, Tiruchi-Bangalore and other sectors were packed to capacity with several passengers even preferring to travel standing.