Shopkeepers fume at protest on Singhu border

Farmers protesting at the Singhu border on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

Shopkeepers at the stretch of Singhu border, where the farmers’ protest is under way, said they are incurring heavy losses and are drifting closer to a breaking point.

An angry Hari Chand (70), a resident of Sonipat, said he has been bearing a loss of nearly ₹1 lakh a month and there is minimal to no work since the protest began. “I have to pay a rent of ₹35,000 and I have to pay salaries for four boys at ₹15,000 each plus electricity bill and daily tea. How am I supposed to pay for this?” he questioned.

The shopkeeper, who has been running a hardware store for the last 40 years, said his customers – essentially factory owners and workers – don’t come because the factories are shut. “The owners of these factories have to come from Delhi or further in Haryana. Their supply-demand chain is shut so they don’t open,” Mr. Chand said, adding that their supplies come from Delhi or the other side of Haryana, which is why they’re selling articles stocked earlier.

Praying for the end

Mr. Chand sells wooden sticks, tarpaulin, brooms, and hardware articles. “Honestly, I don’t even want to sell to the farmers. We are irritated and angry. We want the protest to end,” he said.

Another shopkeeper, who identified himself as Varun Tayal (38) and runs an electrical store, said he is scared to say anything to the farmers. “I don’t want to die. They’re huge in numbers,” he said.

Apart from netting losses, he said reaching the shop every day takes him more than an hour and a half because he has to take the route through the inside of villages. “What is our fault? We are taxpayers. Why do we have to suffer?” he asked. Mr. Tayal said that the entire Dahiya Market is rented and all the shopkeepers are running losses to the tune of lakhs and crores.

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Printable version | Mar 2, 2021 2:29:35 AM |

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