The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bazaars take a beating

From Behala to Belgachhia, most markets were deserted on Thursday as bandh and bad weather combined to keep sellers and shoppers confined to their homes.

There was hardly a shop open at Shyambazar Market at 9am. “I have shopped here for 20 years now. This is about as bad as it gets,” said local resident Archan Ghose, 66.

Ghose later found that a few greengrocers had not opened shop “because there are no customers”. They fished out from their gunny bags the vegetables Ghose wanted to buy. “Formally, we are closed,” they said.

Behala market, which bustles on a normal day, fared a little better. A couple of vegetable sellers and flower shops could be spotted with their wares in the morning, along with a shop selling fish and three selling chicken.

“Business was negligible in all the civic markets till 6pm. The superintendent was absent in some of them,” a controlling official of Calcutta Municipal Corporation’s market department said. But business went on well in some smaller markets, including Tiretta Bazar, near Poddar Court.

Gariahat Market also bore a deserted look at 9.30am, with wares neatly stacked away under tarpaulins, excepting a fish shop and a greengrocer. Cutting a rohu into two, the shop-owner said: “This consignment is for a hospital. I’ll pack up after this, because there are no customers.” Greengrocer Shyamlal Saha said his stocks for the day had arrived and he would wind up after readying the stuff for the evening, when he expected business to be brisk.

Jadubabu’s Bazaar, in Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee’s backyard, however, was in sharp contrast to the rest of the markets. Mamata has mocked the CPM bandh since it is part of the Centre’s UPA government, which has sanctioned the fuel price hike.

“No seller wants to lose out on a day’s earning, no matter where he sets up shop. We have opened our shops today, and vendors at Gariahat are closed… Tomorrow, the scene may be different,” a flower shop-owner told Metro. But he refused to say if the vendors at Jadubabu’s Bazaar had been ‘told’ to keep their shops open.

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