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Durga Puja

Stalls to malls gain footfall in early signs of Durga Puja shopping amid rain dampener

Short spells of showers in some parts had almost stopped by afternoon and shoppers came out as the day progressed

Debraj Mitra | Published 25.09.23, 08:03 AM
The atrium of South City mall on Sunday evening

The atrium of South City mall on Sunday evening

Gautam Bose

Less than a month left for Durga Puja, the shopping hubs of the city have started crawling back to life.

The overcast conditions and persistent rainfall over the last couple of days had dampened business. Though the sky was gloomy throughout Sunday, the short spells of showers in some parts of the city had almost stopped by the afternoon and the shoppers came out as the day progressed.


Gariahat, New Market and the malls were crowded but far from packed.

Around 5pm, the parking lot in Gariahat had multiple empty slots.

"The situation is better today. The past two days were worse," said a parking attendant.

The familiar chaos was missing but most of the hawkers were busy. Almost every third stall had one or more men standing outside, inviting prospective customers to have a look at their wares. Some others were busy negotiating the prices with customers.

A fortnight ago, the same place was far emptier.

"Business is not great, considering the biggest festival is less than a month away," said Raju Sarkar, who works at a stall selling a variety of trousers — leggings, palazzos and pyjamas — for women.

More than one shopkeeper suggested that the business would be much better next weekend — the start of the next month, when people would have received their salaries. Durga Puja this year starts on October 20.

Sunanda Ghosh, a resident of Mudiali, had come with her younger sister to buy saris. Her son and daughter-in-law, who are settled abroad, are coming to Calcutta during the Puja. "I have come to buy some saris for my daughter-in-law," said Ghosh.

Outside South City Mall, police had put guardrails on Prince Anwar Shah Road to manage traffic. Inside the mall, it was fairly crowded.

"Friday and Saturday were not that great, keeping in mind that Durga Puja is less than a month away. But things seem to have improved today," said an executive at a fast fashion retail chain.

Many visitors were glued to a giant screen showing the India-versus-Australia cricket match.

"The inclement weather was a big challenge. As the rain stopped, people stepped out. The footfall is going up steadily," said Dip Biswas, deputy general manager of the mall.

"The footfall is yet to reach the peak as repeated spells of rain played spoilsport. But we are quite hopeful that pre-Puja shopping will reach the zenith in the weeks to come," said K. Vijayan, general manager, Acropolis Mall.

The city received a sharp spell of rain through the night. But the weather started improving in the morning. The Met office recorded around 27mm of rain between 8.30pm on Saturday and 8.30pm on Sunday.

The Met office attributed the dip in showers to the shifting of the monsoon trough and a cyclonic circulation.

"The monsoon trough was passing through Krishnagar (in Nadia) on Saturday. It has since moved up. Now, it passes through Malda and then eastwards to Manipur," said a Met official.

"A cyclonic circulation that was over the southwest Bihar on Saturday now lies over southeast Uttar Pradesh and neighbourhood," he said.

The Celsius is set to rise in the coming days. "One or two spells of rain are not ruled out. But the sky is not likely to be consistently overcast like it had been for the past few days," said the Met official.

Last updated on 25.09.23, 09:35 AM

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