BHOPAL: Owners of local hardware stores said sales are down by 60% due to Covid-19. They say that people are not repainting their houses this Diwali because either they are short on funds or they are scared of pandemic and don’t want workers to enter their houses.
Diwali is time when people clean houses, dispose of scrap and useless goods. They repaint the houses to get sparkling effect on Diwali, the light of festivals when Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, is worshipped.
Free Press visited certain hardware stores and noticed the lull. It is 3 pm. Ram Asvani, the elderly owner of RK Traders, a hardware store in New Market, is eating cucumber slices. “Every year this time, the shop would have long queue of customers, waiting to see catalogues and choosing colours to paint their houses. And I would not have a moment to spare. This year, it is different. Since morning, just three customers have visited my shop,” he says.
Asvani said cuts in salaries and loss of jobs have left people with little money to spare for renovation. The price of paints has not changed much but the labour cost is up, may be because the migrant labourers have left the city,” he added. The sales, he said, are less than 40% of what they were last year.
The owner of Krishna Hardware and Paints, Dilip Asvani, says business is down by 40%. According to him, people have less money on them and they want to spend it on essentials rather than on luxuries like repainting houses. They seem to have postponed repainting to the next year, he said.
Navin of Ganga Hardware agrees with others. He says sales have reduced by 50%. “The demand has dropped and of course, reason is corona. “People are unwilling to allow workers enter their houses fearing that they would bring the disease with them,” he remarked.
"This year, we are not getting our house repainted. We want to avoid visiting the market to purchase the material needed. Also, we don’t want laborers to enter our house. We are not even allowing any of our two maids in the house. We may go for repainting next year." -Rajni Jain, homemaker
May be next year
"We will have to hire labourers to do the job. And who knows how many of them may be carriers of the disease. So we have dropped the idea this year."-Sonia Soni, homemaker