Pandemic fear keeps away seasonal traders

With Deepavali nearing, shoppers throng NSCB Road in Tiruchi on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: SRINATH

A significant decline in the number of seasonal traders to the city to set up temporary garment shops is perceptible this year due to the unstable market condition in the aftermath of the second wave of COVID-19.

Important commercial streets such as N.S.B Road, Big Bazaar Street, Nandi Koil Street, Singarathope that teem with large textile showrooms are also the favourite haunts of roadside vendors for their seasonal trade. While permanent showrooms attract customers from affluent to lower middle-class categories, economically poor customers entirely depend on the roadside vendors to purchase readymade garments. The commercial streets in the city would usually have a large presence of seasonal traders from Tiruppur, Erode, and Karur. Many traders from Kolkata, Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mumbai, Pune, Patna and Surat also set up temporary shops along the roadsides.

They would generally arrive in the city at least 15 to 20 days before the Deepavali festival. The festival is just round the corner, but the numbers of temporary traders is still sparse. Though the North Indian traders have arrived, their number is just one-third the usual level. Insufficient transport services, fear of contracting COVID-19, uncertainly over business prospects, poor purchasing power among people due to loss of jobs are said to have kept the seasonable traders from setting up shops.

“We notice very few Hindi-speaking seasonal traders this year. The unfavourable business prospects due to the impact of the COVID-19 virus have forced them to give this year a miss. It is understandable,” says M. Karthick, a pavement shopper on Big Bazaar Street.

He said that several traders from different parts of the State, who usually set up shops during Deepavali season, had also chosen to keep away.

This phenomenon is expected to help the local pavement traders. Expecting a good business, they have procured garments from Karnataka, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Tiruppur, Erode, Coimbatore and Karur. But they say that the business has not picked up for them yet.

“We have done moderate business for just four or five days this season so far. We hope the business will pick up this week,” a pavement vendor selling readymade on NSB Road said.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 8:09:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/pandemic-fear-keeps-away-seasonal-traders/article37151061.ece

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