Ramzan traders to wait and watch as Covid cases surge in Hyderabad
With Covid cases rising, businesses caught in two minds whether to stock merchandise or not
Hyderabad: Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Ramzan shopping will not be the usual for the second consecutive year. Given the reports of Covid cases going up rapidly in the neighbouring States and also slightly in Telangana, traders in the markets across the old city are pondering whether to stock merchandise for Ramzan.
Last year, commercial establishments were closed for around six months due to the lockdown, and there was literally no business for them for months even after the restrictions were relaxed.
“Till recently, we assumed that the situation is returning to normal and that we can go ahead with the Ramzan-related activity. But with more cases being reported and speculations of lockdown in a few cities in the adjoining States, we are forced to adopt a wait and watch policy,” said Abid Mohiuddin, general secretary, Old City Traders Association.
An estimated 8,000 commercial establishments dot the usually bustling stretch between Nayapul and Shahalibanda. This apart, a few more thousand traders line up on the roadsides in the markets of Pathergatti, Patel Market, Rikab Gunj, Osmania Bazaar, Laad Bazaar, Gulzar Houz, Moosa Bowli, Motigalli, Khilwat and Devan Devdi.
“Due to the fear of lockdown and uncertainty over the business prospects, traders are making only 50 per cent of the usual preparations. At this stage, we expect traders will hardly make about 40 per cent of business compared to Ramzan in normal times,” feels Abid Mohiuddin.
During the normal years, traders start preparations for Ramzan much in advance by stocking the latest merchandise from different cities.
“Generally, we find customers frequenting the shop from Shaban (the month before Ramzan). It is not the case now. The financial status of several remains impacted due to the lockdown, and there has been no sign of business picking up so far,” explained Mohd Imran, another businessman who runs an apparels store.
Merchandise is sourced from Kolkata, Mumbai and NCR Delhi by the traders here. “Speculations of another Covid wave and associated rumours that lockdown or some restrictions could be imposed are impacting the business possibilities. Most do not appear keen on making immediate plans for purchasing clothes or other accessories,” said MA Faisal, who runs a children apparel store at Pathergatti.
Businessmen are also unsure if the administration will let shops stay open during the nights in Ramzan in view of the prevailing situation.
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