Imphal, Dec. 25: Used garments have come to the rescue of the poor shivering people of Manipur as a severe cold wave sweeps across the state and the mercury plummets.
As Manipur is experiencing one of the coldest winter seasons, dealers in second-hand clothes have sprung up in almost all the corners of the Greater Imphal area — by the roadsides and playgrounds of localities — and are doing brisk business.
Manipur experienced its coldest temperature of 1.4 degrees Celsius in 2004.
Over the past week, the temperature in the state has been hovering between 2 and 6 degrees Celsius, according to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Imphal.
Second-hand shops in certain corners of Imphal city have expanded to roadsides in view of increasing demands.
“I sold anything between Rs 25,000 and 30,000 a day in the last few days. Profit is also good,” Md Rahman, a dealer at the city’s New Checkon market, said.
When this correspondent visited the second-hand shops at New Checkon today, most of the shops were crowded and customers were seen taking away bagful of such garments.
“Second-hand or used garments are very popular particularly among the poorer sections of people who cannot afford to buy costly and trendy ones. These clothes answer to the dream of the poor people,” M.C. Arun, a social anthropologist, said. All kinds of garments, including coats, jeans, sweaters, jackets, jumpsuits, shoes, socks, shorts, pants and gloves are available in the second-hand market.
“This season is cold. I have three children. I cannot buy them new warm clothes. So this is the best option,” Manileima Devi, a 35-year-old woman, said. The dealers said clothes from various countries, including Korea, the US, the UK and Germany, reach Manipur via Calcutta. There are four or five godowns of clothes in the city from where retailers buy for resale.
But it is not only low prices that are attracting customers. Longevity as well as fashionable and trendy garments are also attracting customers. So children of rich parents are also thronging the stalls.
“The design is good, quality better and price the best,” Maibam Ramchandra Singh, 21, said as he bargained for a pair of jeans.
The dealers said in foreign countries a majority of the donated garments are sold to second-hand cloth merchants who resell the clothes.
But the customers are not complaining as long as they are cheap and comfortable.