With the spike in COVID-19 cases at an alarming level in Visakhapatnam, Raksha Bandhan festival subdued as few people opted to go to each other’s places due to the fear, resulting in a huge slump in Rakhi sales, claim the local traders.
Voicing similar concerns, Ramyasri, Front office Executive in Keys Hotel said “The lack of public transport is also a major issue during the festival time. The private cabs charge exorbitant money which many cannot afford.
Some traders, who have been running the rakhi business for years in various parts of the city, said that they never suffered such a kind of hit. This year market is down by about 70 percent. Our regular customers who used to come from nearby districts for wholesale shopping have not come this year. On top of that, due to the ban of Chinese-made Rakhis, we have a very limited variety of Rakhis this year due to this as well.
There might be some virtual celebrations but the zing is missing, leading to a joyless season for vendors like Anasuya and small businesses that were hoping to make some money to tide them over the corona crisis. Anasuya, spends most of her day looking up at people walking past her roadside makeshift shop in Sankarmatam road without a glance or looking down at the silk and cotton ‘rakhis’ lined up, undisturbed, in a neat arrangement on the pavement. With long hours of stay with few rupees earned, it is pushing me to penury, Anasuya said dejectedly.
Venkata Kumari, who has been selling ‘rakhis’ for 5 years in Ram Nagar Area said “Earlier, women would go for a walk in the evening and stop by the shop to buy ‘rakhis’. This disease has ruined us completely,”
After four months of lockdown, the fear of contracting the infection runs deeper than ever. “I have asked my brothers to tie a ‘roli’ homemade thread on my behalf. There is no way we are going to risk each other’s families in these times by visiting them,” said Jyoti of Seethammadhara.
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