Srinagar: In the run-up to Eid-ul-Adha, usual hustle-bustle is missing from markets in the summer capital.
The traders and common people blame inflation and COVID-19 for less rush in markets.
“Traders are witnessing economic slump this Eid. Besides inflation and COVID-19, lack of infrastructure like proper parking spots in city centre markets have hit our business,” said Farhan Kitab, President of Kashmir Retail’s Association.
“Authorities are not letting shoppers park their vehicles in markets. There are not enough parking spots available for vehicles. This has affected footfall of shoppers and affected business. That is one of the reasons that you don’t see usual rush in markets,” Kitab said.
He also said that continuous lockdowns due to Covid in last two years have also affected footfall of shoppers He said in addition to that inflation has burned hole in pockets of people and their purchasing power has gone down.
“By continuously spending on health emergencies in Covid while losing jobs at the same time, purchase power of customers has decreased. There has been huge massive price rise in commodities which has kept people away from markets. We used to have a jam-packed season of Eid, but this year there is no such thing. The traders have equally suffered amid no government support. Our capital has eroded and we are under bank debt. Most traders have failed to restock for Eid at the scale that they usually did,” he added.
The locals also complain that rising inflation and lack of earnings due to Covid lockdowns for the last two years has affected everyone.
The people associated with business and private jobs have been affected.
And with less capital at hand people are spending less on Eid.
“Since 2019, people like me who worked in the private sector have seen the worst. I have been laid off multiple times since 2019. There has been no job security. I am taking less than usual salary due to loss in business to our employers for last three years. With fewer earnings and huge inflation, I have decided to purchase only essential items and save some money,” said Jahangir Ahmad, an office goer in Lal Chowk.
“This is the situation of most people and that is the reason there is no such buzz in the markets. Over the past three years people with jobs, associated with trade have equally suffered. When there is no money, why would people go for mega shopping trips,” he said.
The traders say that markets that used to be crowded with people shopping for Eid have missed that usual buzz. Over the past week, traders have been appealing government to allow them to operate on Sunday so that it can boost their business. They also said that the administration should facilitate easy inter-district public transport service and allow roadside parking for Eid. They said this will increase the footfall of shoppers in the markets.