As people prepare to light a candle, it’s a windfall for sellers in Kolkata

Volunteers wearing protective suits while distributing essential items among the needy during the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown, in Kolkata, on April 4.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Things have never been better for the candle sellers in Kolkata as residents prepare to burn tonnes of candles at 9 p.m. on Sunday.

Prime Minister has appealed to citizens to switch off lights and rather light lamps and candles as a mark of solidarity against COVID-19 outbreak.

The result, however, is “a windfall” for candle sellers, said Arup Dutta, a civil engineer.


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“In Gariahat market [in south Kolkata] a reasonably robust candle costs ₹30, which was ₹10 a week back,” he said.

In all other markets, which are now open till midday, the candle prices surged.

“In Kasba market, a ₹10 candle is selling at ₹20,” said Uttam Saha, a domestic help.


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A grocer, Sudhir Purakait, in Chetla market, said he gets his supply of candles and other household items from a man in his sixties for many years.

“He picks up material from wholesale markets and delivers. He brings candles and earthen pots and lamps too. But he disappeared as the demand surged, perhaps selling it all by himself,” said Mr. Purakait.

In Alipore, which is one of city’s upper class residential area, a thin and unsteady candle costs ₹50 on Sunday morning, locals said.

However, many have put up posts on social media saying that they will not switch off lights on Sunday evening.

A personal matter: Mamata

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s call has triggered some political noise in the State.

Answering a question on the appeal, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said it’s “a personal matter.”

“He has told you... You do it. Why are you asking me? I will say what I have to…the Prime Minister will say what he has to,” she said on Friday

“Why should I interfere in other people’s matters? Should I tackle Coronavirus, or you want a political war to break out? Please don’t ignite a political battle. If you feel what the Prime Minister has said is good, you abide by that. If I feel, I will sleep, I will do that. It is a personal matter,” Ms .Banerjee said.

BJP president Dilip Ghosh reacted saying “The situation in the country is indicative to all, that the Chief Minister is sleeping. She can continue to sleep more at 9 p.m. on Sunday. But the whole country will be awake.”

(With IANS inputs)

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 4:56:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/as-people-prepare-to-light-a-candle-its-a-windfall-for-sellers-in-kolkata/article31262082.ece

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