Business dull a week after Iewduh reopening

SHILLONG: A week after Iewduh reopened partially, the traditional market still has a relatively low footfall even as hand hygiene is followed but maintaining physical distancing is proving to be a tough task.
Personnel from the enforcement wing of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) and a policeman from Hima Mylliem kept vigil to check the entry of people from Motphran to Iewduh. Two wash basins were kept at the entrance of Iewduh at Motphran.
Those who entered Iewduh without washing hands were rebuked by the Hima Mylliem personnel who directed people to maintain physical distance while washing hands.
The personnel of enforcement wing from the KHADC said, “Most of the people are following the health protocol such as washing of hands. We direct people to maintain social distancing and they comply with the order”.
It was only on the first day that two shops were closed down as they were not supposed to be open on that day. At Iewduh, shops were given the alphabetical order – A, B and C. Each shop gets to open twice a week.
The enforcement personnel told The Shillong Times that footfall to Iewduh is low even though it was the most sought after market as it is a place where goods are sold at a reasonable rate.
“Apparently, few people come to Iewduh”, the enforcement personnel said adding that people stay away from Iewduh as vegetables, meat and fish stalls are not allowed to open.
Hawking is also not allowed and shopkeepers having stalls are allowed to open but they were strictly warned against spreading their merchandise outside their shops which they often do.
The enforcement wing of the KHADC is divided into two groups consisting of 30 personnel and 6 Inspectors-in charge.
While some shops maintained social distancing, others did not follow the guidelines.
Most of the shopkeepers bemoaned that sale is very low. Adding to their woes is that they get to open only twice a week.
A person selling umbrella said, “Sale is very low”.
Shopkeeper Anish Rizvi, who sells footwear, said that in a day at least 10-11 customers come to his shop.
“People from the villages or from far flung areas are not coming. Most of the customers are from the city”, he said.
Debashish Ghosh, a retailer dealing with utensils, said, “Sales are down and people are also bargaining a lot”. R. Kharbuki, who sells clothes, said that customers are less as most of the people from the rural areas are not coming. “People are few as they have to think twice before coming to the market given the exorbitant taxi fare”.
Fruit shops and book stalls reopen
Fruit shops opened up for business since Monday. A shopkeeper, Santanu Das said that there are very few customers. He said that fruit stalls can open every day except Sunday.
While moving further to different lanes where fruit stalls are usually set up, it was noticed that only one shop was opened. “We did not know that fruit stalls are allowed to open. It was only when I visited Iewduh yesterday that I was told that fruit stalls are allowed to run their business”, said a vendor identified as R Kharlyngdoh.
The Basa Soh (fruits section) wore a dreary look.
Starting from Tuesday, book stalls were also allowed to open. Abhijeet Dey of Students Book Stall said that the book stalls opened following the alphabetic order. “One or two customers were there”, he said adding that they bought pens and pencils.
Prashanto Dutta of Shillong Book stall said that students bought guide books for class XII.
The fruit and book stalls, however, are yet to pick up business as the shop keepers and the customers are not aware of the order of the district administration.

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