The country's sweets industry would suffer an estimated financial loss of Rs 5,000 crore during this Raksha Bandhan festival due to the coronavirus pandemic, an industry association claimed.
A national federation of sweet makers says that sales of sweets on this Raksha Bandhan are expected to be halved due to the alleged mismanagement of the administration in different states in addition to the epidemic hitting customers. This may cost the sweets industry about Rs 5,000 crore.
The director of the Federation of Sweets and Namkeen Manufacturers, Feroz H. Naqvi, on Sunday told PTI, "Sweets worth around Rs 10,000 crore were sold across the country on Raksha Bandhan last year. This figure expected to come down to around Rs 5,000 crore this time." "The purchasing power of the customers is already affected due to the economic crisis arising out of Covid-19. There has been a lot of confusion in many districts of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and some other states about opening of sweet shops on Saturday and Sunday falling just before Raksha Bandhan (Monday). As a result, sweets could not be manufactured and stocked adequately to meet the festive demand." He said that the government's mismanagement on Raksha Bandhan has increased the problems for the sweets industry.
These problems could have been mitigated by a timely decision by the administration about opening of shops, he said.
Naqvi said according to a rough estimate, the sweet business from Raksha Bandhan to Janmashtami accounts for about 25 per cent of annual festival sales.
He demanded that the administration across the country should rectify its mistake and announce the plan about the opening of sweets shops in advance during the upcoming festivals so that their sweet makers can prepare accordingly.
Meanwhile, Indore's district administration in an order issued late on Saturday, citing instructions received from the state government regarding the festival of Raksha Bandhan, said that sweets-namkeen shops besides those selling puja items can be opened on Sunday.
However, in an order earlier on Wednesday, the administration had clarified that according to the instructions of the state government, the Sunday curfew will remain enforced in the district on August 2 and normal business activities will not be allowed.
There is a lockdown across the state on Sundays to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
But local politicians were constantly demanding that shops should be allowed to open in Indore on this Sunday due to festival-related needs.