Express news service
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state is preparing for Eid al Adha and the government has granted several relaxations to mark the occasion. The markets have come back to life. However, price hikes and online shopping are proving to be a problem for traders.
After a hole, the city’s markets started to buzz again as the state government eased restrictions in the wake of Eid al Adha, which would be celebrated on Wednesday. While traders, who were reeling from the pandemic and the lockdown, are relieved to resume operations, those in traditional markets, including Chalai and Palayam markets, have seen low turnout.
Traditional traders continue to struggle to make ends meet as the majority of shoppers migrate to online platforms and retail chains to make purchases during Eid al Adha. The future looks bleak for many merchants as the threat of a pandemic continues to weigh heavily, altering the buying ability and purchasing habits of customers.
Feroz Khan, who ran a shoe store in Chalai Market, said business remained lackluster. “It’s my family business. We have been running this store for 35 years. However, I don’t want my next generation to take over our family business. There is no future in this, ”he said.
“We kept the store open until 7:30 pm on Sunday, but we couldn’t find buyers. It’s 11:30 am now but no one has come yet. People no longer come to the markets. There is a huge rush for retail chains, and interestingly, Covid’s restrictions don’t apply to those retail stores. These only apply to us, ”lamented Feroz. He said the government should also have granted relaxations on Saturday.
“After Eid al Adha, they will bring back the restrictions and the future looks bleak for many like me. The government is trying to please the health sector and police personnel by imposing restrictions on us,” he said. He added. According to traders, Eid is one of the seasons they seek out for good business. Textile and shoe stores do good business. Mohammad Asif, who owns a textile store, said that they hadn’t bought any new stock fearing a lackluster business.
“People are struggling and don’t have the financial capacity to spend more. The majority of the clients we receive are daily wage workers and normally there are more people. Now the market is almost deserted. We didn’t unpack the limited stock, hoping the market would at least pick up by Onam, ”Asif says.
A sharp rise in the prices of basic commodities and essentials amid the pandemic is adding to the woes of buyers and traders. Mini K, a resident of Kesavadasapuram, who came to shop, complained about the increase in prices.
“The pandemic has ruined our lives. My husband is a daily worker and we find it difficult to cover even the daily expenses. The cost of living has increased amid the pandemic. The celebrations are only for the privileged, ”said Mini.
Suresh Kumar, another buyer, also complained about the price increase. “The prices for cooking gas, fuel and everything have gone up during the pandemic. Everything costs more and our wages haven’t gone up, ”Suresh said. With the Eid al Adha market not improving much, traders are demanding more reasonable eases and financial assistance from the government.
PMA Khader, who operates a grocery store in Chalai, said the government should lift restrictions and allow all stores to open daily. “There will be no rush if there is no restriction. Grocery prices have increased due to higher fuel prices. Everything costs more, ”he said.
Syamala S, who has operated a small roadside fruit stall for 45 years in Chalai, said she trades 4,000 rupees a day when things were normal. “Now I barely earn 1,000 rupees after spending the day under the scorching sun. Once the fruits are stale, I will not be able to sell them anymore, ”said Syamala.