Broken bridges on three key roads have cast a shadow on daily business in the silk city during Id and Shravani Mela.
Large number of traders here who directly depend on the markets of Calcutta, Mumbai, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh to import different items face problems because of the blockade of movement of goods-carrying vehicles.
Only Vikramshila bridge is functional but the vehicle owners have started avoiding to take the route as the approach roads to the bridge are in dilapidated conditions.
Since 2012, the Ghorghat and Champanala bridges on NH-80 on the town’s west are damaged. In July, Vaina bridge (on east) and Bhagalpur-Hansdiha road bridge (on south) have also stopped allowing trucks to ply on them.
Bhagalpur, considered to be a big market catering to people within a radius of more than 250km, including places like parts of Santhal Pargana in neighbouring Jharkhand, the Kosi and Semanchal regions along with neighbouring districts of eastern Bihar.
The presence of silk manufacturers and weavers here has increased the significance of Bhagalpur, especially in the festive season of Shravani Mela, Id and the upcoming Durga Puja and Diwali.
As per rough estimates, Sultanganj has the potential for business transaction over more than Rs 600-625 crore during Mela. “Due to transport problems, this time we failed to bring many items from outside. As a result, the prices of the items are sold here at a high price in comparison to other towns,” said Sarwan Garodia, a readymade garment trader.
Sanjit Kumar, chartered accountant, said when the ulta pool (Lohiya Bridge), connecting the town to southern parts of Bihar and Jharkhand, was damaged and road connectivity was snapped in 2001-2004, the market economy here was in the doldrums.
Bhagalpur has also railway connectivity but very few traders like the big silk manufactures use rail transports for ferrying their goods. “Due to rise of railway tariff, we usually prefer road transportation,” said Binod Kumar, a vegetable trader. According to him, costs of items like potato, green chilli, ladies fingers, parwal etc have gone up by Rs 5-9 per kg.