Bokaro: Reports of a surge in the Covid – 19 cases are affecting the Holi markets with the residents gripped by fears of a second wave of the pandemic. Garment shop owners and other traders, who are expecting a good business ahead of Holi, are experiencing a slowdown because of the rising cases. Even malls and shopping complex are seeing a decline in footfall.
As of Saturday evening, Bokaro has about 60 active cases after it achieved the coronavirus free status in mid – February. Ten to 15 cases are reported daily from last week and the rising trend in district was observed since the first week of March. Even Bokaro MLA Biranchi Narayan of BJP tested positive on Wednesday with the increase in cases.
With the increase in cases, the economic activities in the city are heavily affected and the district administration has also intensified drives to implement Covid – 19 safety protocols. An executive at a prominent mall in the city said. “The footfall of residents declined suddenly- ly to 20% in the last three days. And the trend is continuing at our mall.”
An owner of a garmentshop in the city center who has vested a lot of money in fresh stock a month ago for the festival, said he could not clear his merchandise and feared incurring huge losses. The main city center in Chas and the Bermo market in the district are also witnessing similar situations. All sections of society have stopped coming to buy goods and vendors who put up temporary stalls to sell colors and water guns area disappointed lot.
A colour vendor said. “We thought that people would splurge in celebrating Holi this year with the decline of the Covid cases in February, but it seems the situation is going to worsen.” Restaurants and hotels, too, are feeling the heat after many Holi gatherings were canceled in recent days.
President of the Bokaro Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Sanjay Baid. said, “The Holi market seems to be a dampener this time too. Even though only a few days are left for the festival, sales are yet to pick up Invest ment of crores by the traders seems to be going to waste. Most of the citizens don’t seem to have enough enthusiasm for Holi. ”