Cuttack: The imposition of night curfew and weekend shutdown to check the spread of novel coronavirus has taken a heavy toll on the traders of the Silver City – the hub of Odisha’s trade and commerce.
The restrictions have wreaked havoc on the businesses of wholesale as well as retail traders at Malgodown, Chhatrabazar, Choudhury Bazar, Pithapur, Haripur, Ranihaat, Mangalabag, Buxibazar, Nimchouri, Nayasadak, College Square and Dolamundai areas of the city, sources said.
Almost all traders dealing in grocery items, vegetables, garments and jewellery are witnessing poor business due to Covid-induced restrictions. The restaurants, fast-food shops and roadside eateries are bearing the brunt of night curfew and weekend shutdown, sources added.
Chhatrabazar and Malgodown, the biggest wholesale markets for grocery items and vegetables in state, used to witness good footfall from early morning to midnight. However, the imposition of night curfew from 9pm to 5am everyday is affecting business prospects at the twin markets, sources said.
“The volume of business at Malgodown has slumped by 20 to 30 per cent due to the night curfew. The situation will worsen further as the city has been put under weekend shutdowns to check the virus spread,” said Cuttack Traders’ Association president Laxmidhar Sahu.
Many retailers of the city are expecting around 50 per cent dip in their business due to Covid-19 restrictions. “We usually do brisk business during weekends. The imposition of weekend shutdowns is hurting our business more. Our business will go down by 50 per cent due to the restrictions imposed by the government to fight the deadly virus,” said Amit Agarwal, a retailer.
Unable to bear the loss due to the twin restrictions, many fast-food sellers of the city are now planning to close down their shops.
“We usually receive good number of customers between 5pm and 10pm. Now, we are hardly getting any customer after 7:30pm. People are leaving the market places before 8pm due to the night curfew. This apart, the weekend shutdown will also add to our woes. If this situation continues for some more days, we will be forced to close down our shops,” said Umesh Chandra Guru, a fast-food seller.
Echoing similar concerns, Soumya Ranjan Sahu, a restaurateur, said, “We suffered huge losses last year due to the prolonged nationwide lockdown. We had expected that the situation would improve this year. We used to sell food worth around Rs 10,000 every evening. Now, we are not getting good number of customers due to the stringent norms imposed by the government. Some eateries are now unable to sell food worth around Rs 500 a day.”
The condition of fruit sellers is no different. Poor storage facility and sluggish demand are causing huge losses to the fruit sellers. “We are procuring fruits at higher prices. But, fruits are getting damaged due to rise in temperature. Now, this weekend shutdown is adding to our woes as we do not have proper storage facility,” said Padmanabh Sahu, a fruit seller.