Tirupati: Covid takes sheen off Sankranti spirit

On the eve of Bhogi festival, the flower market in Tirupati wears a deserted look on Tuesday
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On the eve of Bhogi festival, the flower market in Tirupati wears a deserted look on Tuesday (Below) People throng Gandhi Road in Tirupati on Tuesday

for footpath shopping 

Highlights

  • Lack of dispensable money keeps people away from buying new clothes and other goods
  • To keep the festival sentiments alive, they contend with footpath shopping
  • Apart from the pandemic-induced slump, heavy rains also added to their woes by damaging the crops

Tirupati: Covid pandemic has wiped out smiles from the faces of several business persons despite Sankranti being a major festival for all Hindus when people from rural areas throng the nearby towns and cities for shopping new clothes, sweets, flowers, etc., The pandemic that started hitting people in March 2020 resulting in lockdown for about three months. Many families were adversely affected by it and several of them have lost their livelihood and unable to find alternative jobs even now. These financial woes made a severe impact on the economic cycle.

Unlike every year, cloth business bears the brunt of the financial difficulties of people. The middle-class people who purchase clothes for the festival have been thinking twice to make a choice of buying this time. Despite giving various offers, the sales have been very much disappointing, said a cloth merchant. Lack of money in the hands of people was the main reason for the drop in business to the tune of about 40 per cent.

However, to continue the sentiments of wearing new clothes on the festival day, many people were seen compromising with footpath shopping. Prices of flowers have skyrocketed though the business was dull.

A flower merchant said that people were hit by the double whammy of Covid-19 followed by severe rains due to which the crop damage is very heavy. This has resulted in the lower supplies of flowers due to which the prices have gone up.

Keeping the festival sentiments alive, women were seen participating in rangoli competitions organised by various organisations while children though in reduced numbers enjoyed the beginning of their vacation in flying the colourful kites.

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