The market was closed last month following an alarming spike in cases in the area.

news Coronavirus Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - 09:25

After the seal down was lifted in Chickpet area by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike(BBMP) following an alarming number of cases in the area, it was reopened after a gap of over a month. TNM spoke to traders of Bengaluru’s central city market on how the lifting of the temporary ban and the new restrictions imposed has impacted business.

Praveen Kumar Doshi, the Vice President of the Electrical Merchant’s association in Chickpet market expressed relief to be back in business following the ease in the lockdown over the Chickpet market area.

Though the president of the association, D Kothilal, was hospitalised after contracting the virus, Praveen says that he thinks that there is not much risk if all the guidelines are followed. “We are happy to follow all the guidelines of the government of India including distancing and wearing masks. If there are additional guidelines from BBMP, we will be happy to follow them,” he says.

“Without doing our business, how long will we survive? If there are no sales then the economy will keep getting worse. We are very happy to be able to go back to work,” Praveen adds. 

Chickpet market is a hub for several kinds of businesses and markets, from jewellery, clothes, electrical appliances to fresh fruit and vegetables. However, after reports that many cases were being reported in the area, the market was closed on .

Read: Bengaluru’s Chickpet shopping district to close for a week as COVID-19 cases rise

Prakash Pirgal, the president of the Chickpet Wholesale Cloth Merchants’ Association said that many shops were opened on Wednesday, however shoppers are yet to return to the area. “We haven’t seen much footfall. We think that demand will take time to revive. During this time, we usually witness frenzied business because of the upcoming Varamahalakshmi festival which is celebrated in a big fashion in the state but we are seeing only about 25 percent of the usual footfall.”

Prakash added that “There are about 3,500 cloth shops in the area which do wholesale business  with other states, including Tamil Nadu and Kerala, but the buyers are finding it hard to come because of the various restrictions including requirement of an e-pass. We usually do business within Karnataka as well, with people from places like Davangere and other districts but they find it difficult to come ahead of the festival in the current situation. We feel that until the vaccine comes, things will be bad as people continue to take precautions.”

However, not all areas in Chickpet have been permitted to open, as CK Janardhan, President of the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce (FKCCI), notes. “We have spoken to the Chief Minister and told him that If they don’t open the market, the entire state will come to a standstill, because this is where the entire state gets its engineering and computer spare parts.”

“The Chief Secretary has passed an order (to open the market completely) on Saturday. Still, large surrounding areas of Chickpet have not been opened: JC road, Cottonpet, parts of Avenue road and SP road are not open, though we have been informed that it would take place on Monday. We were given the guidelines that the entire market will not open, but only one side of the market will be open on alternate days. No residents live there as it is a commercial area. However, the BBMP Commissioner has not yet passed an order and we are awaiting this. We don’t know what the delay is because of.” 

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