This Diwali eve, the markets in Delhi are flooded with customers engaged in the last minute shopping ritual. The shopkeepers and members of different market associations were of the opinion that the foot-fall would definity increase this year, but to this extent, was way out of their imagination.
Huge traffic jams have become a regular sight near the famous Lajpat Nagar, Sadar Bazar, Chandni Chowk, Sarojini Nagar, Chattarpur and Govindpuri markets, as the bylanes are jam-packed.
Abhijeet Raghav, who has a ethnic garment shop in Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar told Patriot that the foot-fall has continued to increase as the Deepawali arrives. “With each passing day, more and more customers are coming to the market in search of clothes, decorative materials, food items and sweets. The festive seasons are obviously a boon for us, but nothing is like Diwali when a whole day of Dhanteras is attributed to shopping and buying new things. We have already extended the opening hours to meet the customer’s demand”, he stated as customers continued to rush into his shop.
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While head of the Sarojini Nagar mini-market traders association, Ashok Randhawa, claimed that on Saturday, more than 70,000 people visited the market—nearly three times as many as typically do. On the occasion of Dhanteras, there was a huge crowd of people shopping for new clothes, kitchenware, and sweets in the market. “The administration has sent out Delhi Police and CRPF members with a dog squad to handle security”, he continued.
Due to the increased rush and foot fall in the markets, the Chamber of Trade and Industries has earlier urged the Delhi Police commissioner Sanjay Arora to deploy adequate security personnels to control the Diwali rush.
Chairman of the Chamber of Trade and Industries, Brijesh Goyal has asked the commissioner for the deployment of police personnels and parliamentary forces in order to control the rush if required.
“Every day, more than a lakh people visit Sarojini Nagar Market and Sadar Bazar. Unexpectedly few police officers are present. Even the market groups have placed private security guards in Sadar Bazar, but no one takes them seriously. These private security officers aren’t being heard”, stated Goyal.
Members of the Market association informed Patriot that lights, crockery, diyas, paints, furniture, jewelry, sweets, garments, dry fruits, decorative products, Lakshmi-Ganesh idols, and kitchenware all saw an increase in sales.
As Diwali approaches, the markets this evening would become more congested.
“Many markets are experiencing illegal encroachment, and the number of illegal hawkers has skyrocketed”, stated the CTI.
On the contrary, Vikas – selling plastic toys on a trolley – firmly opposed the statement by CTI. “Isn’t Diwali a festival for all?”, he asked.
“We don’t have huge showrooms and luxurious shops with ACs and comfortable sofas, but this doesn’t mean that we don’t have a right to exist in the market”, stated Vikas.
“The big shop-owners call us illegal and treat us as if we are hijacking their space. Why do they have a problem with our 100 or 200 hundred rupees while they are earning in lakhs”, he asked.