After a month of being shut down and various parts of it declared as containment zones, the wholesale hub of the city — Chickpet and its surrounding areas — is looking forward to revive businesses in the coming days as festivals are soon approaching. However, traders are now faced with multiple challenges, including transporting their goods to other parts of the State and also to other States.
Prakash Pirgal, president of the Bangalore Wholesale Cloth Merchants’ Association, said the demand for various items, including clothes, used to be very high before Varamahalakshmi festival and they would send goods to various districts across the State. “This year, there is hardly any business and whatever business we have is also hit because of transport-related issues,” he said.
Traders in and around the area say the amount of materials transported has drastically dropped but the transportation charges have remained almost the same and that was hitting them hard.
Ranjeet Jain, president of the Karnataka Paper Merchants’ and Stationers’ Association, said, “I supply paper to a district-level newspaper in Chamarajanagar. It was very difficult for us to supply the paper for them during the lockdown and it also proved expensive. Before we used to send materials for wedding cards and other things. But now there is no demand and whatever little is sent is sent at the same transportation cost,” he said.
On the other hand, those in the goods transport fields are facing problems other than lack of business. Since many areas are sealed and also dug up for drainage-related works, they are not able to park their vehicles and load goods. “Tharagupet and Sultanpet areas are dug up for some drain-related work. Sultanpet is like the transport hub here and we have no proper place to either load or park our vehicles and the business is low,” Manjunath D. of a transport agency.
N. Krishna of another transport agency said they used Mysuru Road and other places to park their vehicles and shifting goods from the pete area to the parking place was a huge challenge.
Trade activist Sajjan Raj Mehta said it was high time the economy is revived and shutting down areas was not a solution. “COVID-19 is going to stay and we should live with guidelines and not lockdowns. The government should create a conducive atmosphere for our business,” he said.