Traders blame 2014 floods, GST and political uncertainty
SRINAGAR: Eid-ul-Fitr – the day marking the end of the holy month of Ramadhan is around and the markets are witnessing the rush of shoppers despite scorching heat. But the usual buzz, the festive fervor and rush of people thronging markets in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir is missing.
The rush of customers in the markets in Srinagar for Eid shopping is not as it used to be.
The “fall”, according to the trade bodies, has set in due to the devastating floods of 2014 and economic meltdown post 2016 with blows of demonetisation and implementation of Goods and Services Act (GST). The “situation” and “political “uncertainty” in the valley has also affected the business.
According to Farhan Kitab, chief spokesperson of Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Association (KTMA), people have stopped to shop “lavishly” which was a common practice on the occasions of Eid and marriage ceremonies.
“People don’t shop now like they used to do some years before. After 2014 floods followed by demonetisation and GST, people are more careful with their spending,” Farhan said. “This is for the first time that the rush is low and business is a little down. People of the valley are withholding their money because there is political uncertainty.”
Farhan said that though mega Eid discounts are being offered by showrooms which are helping to lift the market and will attract more customers but the long-term recovery is possible only if common people have a “high disposable income.”
Several other traders and shopkeepers Kashmir Reader talked to said that since floods, demonetization and imposition of GST the purchasing power of the people has declined.
Normally people in the valley do not compromise with the food items on Eid and spend generously on eatables like chicken, mutton and bakery but that area seem to be having affected too.
“Business is a little down if compared with what it used to be on the occasion of Eid. Also big hotel chains have jumped into the bakery market but we are managing fine. Yeah but comparatively the business has been affected,” Omer Bhat, President Kashmir Bakers and Confectioners Association.
Shoppers who talked to Kashmir Reader said that they are shopping ‘very carefully’ on this EID since prices have gone up since GST.
“Prices are high and after Eid there is marriage season in which we have to spend again. Also the situation in Kashmir cannot be trusted so you need to be having some savings for times of eventualities. So this time we are not shopping with emotions,” said Umaz Rasool, who had come to shop for Eid with his sister and buy clothes for the marriage ceremony of their cousin.