Yeshwantpur market bleeds, slowdown-hit Peenya silences

Vendors wait for customers at Yeshwantpur market in Bengaluru on Saturday. DH Photo/B H Shivakumar

The nine-day Dasara festival, especially the days of Ayudha Pooja and Vijaya Dashami, is a godsend for vendors in Yeshwantpur market, for they do brisk business and are able to recoup losses suffered during regular days. But not this year.

The usual rush is missing; orders have dried up. The culprit: economic slowdown.

The ripple effect could be seen on Saturday, as the closure or partial closure of units in Peenya left markets in Yeshwantpur nearly empty.

Ramesh Chandra Lahoti, president of Yeshwantpur APMC Traders Federation, said the slowdown had come as a last straw for the market.

"Wholesale traders in APMC are already suffering due to the government’s support for online business, which are backed by foreign investment. Add to this the drastic fall in consumption and there is nothing left for us,” he said.

Prasanna D, whose startup Way2Agribusiness connects farmers with vendors, said about 50-odd vendors connected to his enterprise had suffered losses above 50%.

“In fact, the decline in business has been a gradual. Over the last three months, a person who used to shell out Rs 1,000 is not spending more than Rs 500 this year. This is true for ash gourd as well as premium products like mushroom,” he said.

The story is no different among the street-side vendors, who have the option to shift shop in search of customers.

“Some of the regulars did not come to the shop at all. Most of the additional commodities I bought in view of Ayudha Pooja has remained unsold,” said Mallesh B, a vendor.

Arift H M, honorary secretary of Peenya Industries Association, said hundreds of factories had either shut shop or sent a significant number of their employees on holiday without pay over the last two months, highlighting the depth of the crisis in one of the largest industrial areas in the country.

“The closure and partial closure is common among a majority of 5,500 industries who are members of the association. Industries are not getting paid from their vendors. In turn, they have not been able to pay their employees,” he said.

He said the association doesn’t expect the slowdown to end anytime soon. “We fear that this situation will continue till March. But there is nothing we can do,” said Arif.


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