Old city hub of garba costumes pays dear for October 3 rioting


Recent violence in Karanj coupled with inflation and changing tastes spells doom for business there

The October 3 rioting in Karanj area has hampered the usually buoyant Navratri sales in the neighbouring Manekchowk, which is one of the biggest hubs for garba merchandise. With two days to go for Navratri, traders in Manekchowk report a 50 per cent dip in sales.

For them, it has been a double whammy of inflation and the recent disturbance in the area.

"Even with just two days left, sales have not picked in Manekchowk. Although no private property was destroyed in the rioting, the violence reached our shops as well and we had to shut shop that day," says Rajesh Kantilal Khalas, who owns Padmavati Creations in the Manekchowk area.

Sales in the festival season has always been robust in areas of Manekchowk, along with Bhadra and Relief roads that are known to be hubs of Navratri and Diwali shopping.

"We have not even sold 50 per cent of what we used to during Navratris. So far, just 25 per cent of our jewellery has been sold. Though we had anticipated low sales this year and so brought less stock, even that has not gone off the shelves," said Fayyaz Mohammed, who owns a shop that has been selling oxidized and imitation jewellery in the Manekchowk area for over a decade.

Traders in Manekchowk have also been hit by other markets that have opened in other parts of the city like Nehrunagar and Law Garden. "Cost of labour and other inputs have also increased significantly due to hike in fuel prices. Apart from that, Nehrunagar has also emerged as a market for traditional attire, weaning away from us several customers who do not want to come to the old city," said Mukesh Khatri, who runs a wholesale business of stitching Navratri dresses which he supplies to retailers in Manekchowk.

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