Sunday market in summer capital, Srinagar, extends from Regal Chowk in Lal Chowk up to Tourist Reception Centre this winter is witnessing fall in sales.
The market opens early dawn every Sunday and closes while Muezzin has almost completed his Maghrib prayers’ call.
This market has over the years saw boom as people from Kashmir parts throng it for low cost clothes, blankets, quilts, and other household items.
However, the traders engaged in this trade are not happy with the weather this winter has experienced.
“The market is all time low as the stock we had procured for winter is still lying in the go-downs,” Nisar Ahmad, a jacket seller said. “People from nook and corner of valley used to buy different products of their needs in winters but sales are yet to grow this time.”
It is January and Sun is shining as if it is April! A week from now, Chilai Kalan (the harshest period of winter in Kashmir) will come to end but snow is nowhere. “Tourists would add to the sales but this year, like Kashmiris, they too are not interested in buying winter clothing as weather remains unchanged,” he added.
The Meteorological department said that snow shall not fall, at least, in January. “Day temperatures are as good as those in May,” a buyer said.
Manzoor Ahmad, who is busy showing different colours of jacket to one of his customer near Polo View where water levels rose to 25 feet in 2014 floods, said, “Kashmir is yet to recover from September deluge.” “People are cautious,” he asserts, “why should they buy what is not required yet. They are saving money!”
Kashmir was hit by worst floods century’s floods in 2014 September devastating the economy followed by the winter when economic activity remains low in valley. Srinagar was the major hit and water remained standstill for over a week. Businesses started very low and yet are recovering.
“If there would be snow in Kashmir this time, the tourists as well as locals will be buying all variety of products used during such times but people are in dilemma whether to buy the products or not,” said Manzoor Ahmad, another trader.
More so, the traders said that prices are rising and “because there is no government in place who will regulate it”. “There is no regulation of the prices of commodities from government side which is the main reason behind the loss of in our sales,” he added.
“We have taken stocked lots of products from our suppliers and they don’t accept such problems we are facing,” Sajad, who sells long over coats, said, “we have pay them so we are selling the products at deficit rates.”
(Shafat Magray is an intern with Kashmir Life.)