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14 Oct 2020

Dashain festival at doors; business seems dark

Foreign Affairs News Desk
Foreign Affairs News Desk
A woman at a shop which is almost empty even during Dashain Festival time. Photo credit; Robert Harding
A woman at a shop which is almost empty even during Dashain Festival time. Photo credit; Robert Harding

These days the roads and the shopping places are crowded everywhere. This is due to Nepali’s biggest festival Dashain is at the doors. However, due to COVID1- pandemic there is no mood of festival in the face of Nepali people.

Despite congestion in the valley, shopkeepers’ businesses have not been up to the level.

The shopkeepers seem frustrated even the Dashain and Tihar festivals approaches are at the doors of the people as the business has not been able to shine.

A shop owner at Indrachowk area Ramesh Tuladhar has been doing business of clothes and garments since his grandfather. His business was very good in the past and during the festival time it was no time to even sleep. All of his family members were to give time at the shop during Dashain and Tihar festival time.

Shopkeeper waiting for customer at his shop.

But this year, coronavirus has hardly affected his business. “Before, there was no place for customers to come and stay. Customers are waiting outside due to crowded inside the shops earlier but now it is very difficult to have business even to recover the operation cost,” said Tuladhar a shop owner.

“As I am doing business, I have to earn some income to meet operational costs and also to celebrate Dashain festival,” he said.

“Compared to previous times, people walking on the road are also much thinner this year,” said Suresh Rajbhandari, a shop owner in the New Road area.

“Business is very low this year. Compared to past times, the business of almost all the shops in this area is not more than 20% compared to the past. As we are doing business of non-food items, it is much less,” he further informed.

Same kind of version expressed by Sudip Agarwal, a shop owner at Pashupati Plaza at Khichapokhari of Kathmandu. “Almost all the shops seem empty and the staff and owner are eyeing for customers only.  We open shutters at 10: 30 AM and close at 8 PM every day. Sometimes, we can sell even one item the whole day” said Agrawal and added “We have to close down shops sometime without making a single rupee even at this great festival time.”

An empty shops at the mall.

They are now in trouble as customers do not come even though they bring goods thinking that there will be business as the Dashain festival approaches. Due to the global epidemic of coronavirus, people have not been able to go to the market to buy goods for the Dashain festival.

Even though the traders arranged discounts on various goods to attract the customers, it did not attract the customers as there were no people to come for shopping.

According to him, “as the Dashain is approaching, the shopping mall traders have come up with discounts, gifts and other schemes targeting Dashain, Tihar and Chhath festival.

There is a traditional belief that you have to wear new clothes and eat sweets in Dashain.

Damodar Karki, president of the Bishal Bazar Trade Association, said that “the market was abuzz with discounts and concessions.” “There is no hope of trade this year because of the Corona epidemic,” he said.

“We are expecting 10 to 15 percent of the volume traded. It may be a little on the sidewalk, but in a shop like ours, sometimes there will never be an income of rupees,” Karki added.

“As food items shops seem little crowd of people to buy food as during Dashain festival it needs to eat but there was no crowd to buy other things like garment and other fashionable items,” said Ratna Ghimire, president of the Civil Mall Traders’ Association,

“Compared to last year, this year’s trade has declined by more than 70 percent. Shopping malls have seen a 70 per cent drop in business compared to last year even all the shops have introduced various discount packages focusing on Dashain festival,” he informed.

But on the other side, according to the doctors, as Kathmandu- the capital is the most densely populated area in the country as so, there are more chances of spreading Corona disease rapidly if no precautionary measures are taken.

As people are not following the public health rules strictly, corona has been increasing as people are neglecting public health rules and wearing the mask properly.

“Thus, it is very important to be safer when shopping in the market,” doctors stressed.

At present, more corona infections are seen including the health workers at various hospitals in the capital.

 A public health specialist Dr. Rabindra Pandey urged the citizens to adopt more health protection while shopping in the market.

“Basic procedures like wearing a mask and living on a distance of two-meters should be made compulsory for everyone which is absolutely necessary,” Dr. stressed and suggested “More attention should be paid while shopping in the market.”

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