SHILLONG: With festive season round the corner, the ongoing ILP agitation has begun to take its toll on the shoppers, thereby dampening both the festive spirit as well as business in the commercial hub of the city.
It is learnt that traders from the city’s commercial hub Khyndailad are losing out on their profit due to the ILP agitation in the form of road blockades, picketing and bandh. These traders are losing prospective customers during the evening hours, which is usually the peak shopping time, since road blockades have been forcing people of the city to stay indoors.
Speaking to The Shillong Times, a manager of a garment store at Khyndailad said that customers generally start flowing in at least a month ahead of the Durga Puja celebration and the flow increases as the puja celebrations draw nearer. “However, this time, the Puja celebrations are due to start in less than three weeks’ time but there are no sign of shoppers. The ILP agitation has hit our business hard,” he said.
Almost all stores in Khyndailad have put up banners, billboards and stickers encouraging customers to choose from new arrivals, and avail of offers, gifts and lucky coupons against purchases, but there have been few takers till date.
A salesman of a shoe store said that normally people come to the market in the evening hours, but this time with the road blockades and bandh in place, the shoppers are unable to come to the market.
“I wonder how we will sustain if the blockades and bandh are not sorted out soon,” he said.
A sari store owner, on the other hand, expressed confidence that customers would begin to flow as the Puja dates draw nearer.
“Durga Puja comes once in a year and there is tremendous excitement and enjoyment among the people during this time. I think it is still early days and customers will start flowing by the beginning of next week,” said the shopkeeper.
Tuesday’s petrol bomb attack on two shops in Iewduh has further fuelled a fear psychosis among both the shoppers as well as the traders, even though most of them were hopeful that the situation would return to normal soon to allow people of the State to enjoy a peaceful, happy and long festive season.