Covid casts shadow on Diwali shopping in Hyderabad

Hyderabad, Nov 13 : Like many other festivals for last eight months, Covid-19 had its shadow on Diwali too with the usual shopping buzz associated with the festivities clearly missing.

There were thin crowds in the Hyderabad markets on the eve of Diwali. However, it was a mixed bag for the traders.

While shopping malls and leading stores wore a near deserted look, shops in the traditional markets saw brisk business.

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The ban on sale and use of firecrackers by the Telangana government following High Court’s direction did not have much impact on the festive mood.

The Supreme Court’s intervention modifying the High Court to allow bursting of green crackers for two hours also provided some relief to the traders.

Shops selling crackers, diyas, sweets and other items used during the festivities were crowded in the old markets in twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

Despite the pandemic and its impact on the economy, many families carried on with their tradition of buying gold on ‘Dhanteras’. Those who did not want to visit the shops as a precautionary measure ordered for gold coins or jewellery from the comforts of their home.

“There was not much of impact. In fact the number of customers was much more than what we had expected.

“It was more than expected. We had thought that because of Covid nobody will come but people came out for shopping like how they used to come every year,” Suchit Agarwal of Nishka Diamonds told IANS.

He said those who had requirement of jewellery for regular wear and necklaces for wedding they came, saw and picked up.

“About 20 to 30 per cent customers did not come. They asked us to deliver coins or whatever their orders at their homes,” he said

Agarwal said there was impact on diamond jewellery. “Its sale came down on Dhanteras. There was 50 per cent fall in sale. I think people are preferring gold as they believe the price will soar. Another reason could be cash flow issues because of Covid,” he said.

Agarwal said the sales on Dhanteras have given them hopes. “Because of Covid we have already taken a hit on regular sales but with today’s response we are positive about the coming wedding season. We are also positive for 2021 and hope the industry will be back to pre-Covid level,” he added.

As buying gold on ‘Dhanteras’ is considered auspicious, many families made it a point to buy at least some jewellery. As Hyderabad is known for its cosmopolitan culture and is home to communities from all parts of the country, they were seen making preparations according to their traditions.

“People from north India are particular about buying gold on Dhanteras. Given the current situation because of the pandemic many people are celebrating the festival on low-key,” said Akash Reddy, a businessman.

He pointed out that a mall he visited in posh Banjara Hills to do some shopping was almost deserted. “People don’t have money in hand for festival shopping and this is the reason for no or thin crowds in malls,” he said.

Meanwhile, Director of Public Health and Family Welfare Srinivas Rao has appealed to people to celebrate Diwali within their homes and avoid bursting firecrackers. He said this would go a long way in consolidating the gains made to prevent a major surge in Covid-19 infections during earlier festivals like Bathukamma and Dasara.

Stating that an increase in air pollution level could lead to a rise in Covid-19 infections, he said that avoiding firecrackers could be vital to check the spread of the virus.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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