Madurai

Deepavali eve shopping brisk

Crowds throng the flower market at Mattuthavani.   | Photo Credit: G. Moorthy

A sea of people descended on Vilakkuthoon area and South Masi Street for last-minute Deepavali shopping, with total disregard to COVID-19 safety precautions.

Although there has been a dip in sales this year owing to financial distress caused by COVID-19 pandemic, the sales improved in the last two days ahead of Deepavali, says Abdul Sikkander, a street vendor on Town Hall Road.

Ashraf Tayub, secretary of Tamil Nadu Textile Merchants' Association, says there was indeed good sales in the Vilakkuthoon area for the past three days. “But the overall purchasing capacity of people has reduced this year due to the lockdown,” says Mr. Sikkander.

M. Panchu, a domestic worker who bought clothes from street hawkers in Vilakkuthoon on Friday, says the budget for her family's Deepavali shopping was half that of last year. “My husband lost his job during the pandemic and so we can’t spend much on Deepavali shopping,” she says.

Braving intermittent rains on Friday afternoon, people took shelter under umbrellas and completed their shopping on Deepavali eve. N. Selvam, a street vendor, says the rain turned the roads slushy, causing inconvenience to shoppers and hawkers. “While thousands of people come for shopping, lack of public toilets poses severe inconvenience for both hawkers and shoppers,” he says.

Despite repeated instructions through public address systems, people did not follow COVID-19 safety precautions. Many did not wear face masks and personal distancing norms were completely flouted. “Since it was raining, there is a higher risk of spread of communicable diseases,” says Mr. Selvam.

At flower market

Hundreds of people thronged the flower market at Mattuthavani on Friday, leading to a steep rise in prices of flowers.

Jasmine, which was sold for ₹1,400 a kg on Friday morning, was selling at ₹2,000 by the evening. ‘Picchi’ was sold for ₹1,200, ‘kanakambaram’ for ₹2,000 and ‘mullai’ for ₹1,200. S. Ramachandran, president of a flower vendors’ association at the market, says the flower market saw the huge crowd after nearly eight months. COVID-19 safety precautions went for a toss at the flower market also.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2021 1:22:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/deepavali-eve-shopping-brisk/article33095595.ece

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