A day before Eid-ul-Fitr markets in Kashmir wore a festive look with customers thronging the shopping centers to make last minute purchases. Bakers and mutton dealers too witnessed a brisk rush of customers for the entire day.
Throughout the day people from all age groups could be seen buying choicest items – kids' wears, fashionable men and women wears – and household items in and around Kashmir's commercial hub of Lal Chowk. There was huge rush of customers at Jamia Market, Lal Chowk, Batmaloo , M A Road and Residency Road with people waiting in long queues outside shops to make purchases.
"We purchased new clothes and bakery and pastry for Eid as my kids were eager to go for shopping ahead of festivity," said Arshad Ahmad, a government employee who was accompanying his children to busy Lal Chowk for shopping.
Customer rush was more noticeable in the city centre at Lal Chowk where frequent traffic jams were witnessed due to the huge rush of shoppers.
The business community in Kashmir has been complaining that due to losses incurred by them in 2016 unrest, the commercial activities have taken a hit.
"Ahead of Eid there is always rush in the markets; however from trading prospective sales are not up to the mark due to last year's unrest. People are mostly purchasing eatables," said Chief Spokesperson of business community, Farhan Kitab.
However, despite trading community complaining of slump, mutton, poultry and bakery items were in demand.
From early morning customers were seen waiting in long queues outside the shops of bakers and mutton dealers for their turn.
"Even as Kashmir markets have witnessed a slump during past few months due to overall situation, the demand and supply for bakery products is almost the same as last year," said Omer Mukhtar, senior vice president, Kashmir Bakers and Confectioners Association, an umbrella body which had almost 450 bakers across Kashmir as its members.
There was an increased demand for decorated cakes, sweets and namkeens this Eid, said Mukhtar. As a tradition, several bakers had set-up makeshift spaces outside their shops to cater to huge rush of shoppers.
Similarly, the rush at mutton and poultry shops was unprecedented as people waited for hours outside the shops for their turn. According to general secretary, All Kashmir Wholesale Mutton Dealers Association Mehraj-u-din Ganie sales of mutton witnessed a spike on the eve of Eid.
"This sale has touched Rs 100 crores across Kashmir during last three days of Ramadan," he said.
" On an average we import 40 truckloads of livestock, but from last few days it has increased 100 truckloads as the demand for mutton soars ahead of Eid," said Mehraj ud Din Ganie, president All Kashmir Wholesale Mutton Dealers Association said.
Similarly there has been surge in demand for chicken in the market. "Demand for chickens double these days," said Ghulam Muhammad Bhat President, Kashmir Poultry growers association.