Andhra Pradesh

COVID-19 dampens Ramzan festive mood

According to the shopkeepers, there is a 75% dip in sales during Ramzan this year.   | Photo Credit: GIRI KVS

COVID-19 has dampened the festive mood in the shopping hubs in the city on the eve of Ramzan on Thursday.

The festive mood was clearly missing in One Town and other commercial areas. Not much activity was witnessed near masjids as well where religious texts and other essentials are sold. Traders lament that not even usual business is taking place, leave alone Ramzan festival sales.

“Last year’s lockdown saw a complete closure of Ramzan activities. This year, the police gave us permission to open shops. But, there are no customers,” says Suleman, a shopkeeper at Panja Centre here.

While curfew restrictions are in place on the one hand, rumours that there is a “COVID outbreak” at Panja Centre spoiled the mood on the other. “People are not venturing out. There is a dip in sales by 75%,” Mr. Suleman says.

“I have more stock than customers,” says G. Prasad, a fancy shop owner. The counter collections used to be more than ₹30,000 on the eve of Ramzan. During Ramzan season, the sales used to be between ₹2.5 lakh and ₹3 lakh. This year, it is not even ₹40,000. Though the shop was opened by 6.30 a.m., the sales did not cross even ₹.4,000,” he says.

“Look at that semiya seller. His situation is worse,” Mr. Prasad says pointing his finger at Osman. The roadside vermicelli vendor recalls that he used to sell not less than 1,000 kg two years ago. Last year, there were no sales at all due to lockdown. This year, 100 kg of semiya was put on sale. Of this, still 10 kg vermicelli is unsold. Except distributing it to friends and relatives, there is no other option, he says.

Mr. Suleman says customers and vendors from nearby places in the district had not turned up this year. Their share of sales alone used to be 50%, he says.

“People have no money and are not witnessing any business. They are celebrating with whatever is available. That is the situation now," he says.

“This year is much worse than last year, which witnessed lockdowns. One can see deserted streets and shuttered shops. No trader, or for that matter a commoner, would have suffered so much. These two years are the worst part of our lives,” sums up Mr. Prasad.


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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 4:21:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/covid-19-dampens-ramzan-festive-mood/article34552918.ece

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