Crowds seemingly thin in the Old City area of Bhopal on Wednesday as corona cases shot up.
Crowds seemingly thin in the Old City area of Bhopal on Wednesday as corona cases shot up.
FPJ

BHOPAL: The spurt in the number of corona cases and announcement of a night curfew has triggered panic among the residents of the city and also affected business in certain sectors. The jewellery and garment markets have been hit by over 30 per cent. However, trade in essential commodities — such as groceries — is intact, but shopkeepers predict a fall in sales due to fear among the residents.

The busiest markets of Bhopal, including Chowk Bazaar, Jumerati and Loha Bazaar, witnessed fewer footfalls on Wednesday. The visitors were mostly those who had come for shopping in bulk. The jewellery shopkeepers kept waiting for customers.

On the other hand, it was easy for anyone to ride a two-wheeler in the markets on the day. This is not an easy task on normal days.

Traders, on the other hand, say the government should first ensure the decongestion of roads to enable visitors to maintain social distancing. They say that night curfew has added to fear among the residents and it dissuades them from visiting crowded places. This will only affect their business.

Shoppers flout social distancing norms at New Market in Bhopal on Wednesday.
Shoppers flout social distancing norms at New Market in Bhopal on Wednesday.
FPJ

‘40% fewer customers’

Chowk Bazaar Sarafa trader Vinod Bansal says the number of visitors to his shop has fallen by 40 per cent in two days. He says the people are trying to avoid such crowded places as Chowk Bazaar and are visiting markets only to buy essential commodities. “Festivals are approaching and so is the wedding season. But, due to the panic all around, we’re likely to suffer a loss,” he said.

‘No social distancing’

Rakesh Agrawal, a trader in garments, says not only the wholesale market, but also the retail ones, are witnessing fewer footfalls. The night curfew will also affect their sales as visitors coming to the market will have to go back before time.

Agrawal says the entries to the marketplace are heavily encroached upon, but the civic body has failed to ensure safe entry to visitors as it is not easy to maintain social distancing there. “If the administration has to deal with the rise in the number of cases, there have to be wide lanes in the area,” says Agrawal.

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