Kashmir markets see slump in business

Price rise, Gaza carnage hit Eid shopping

Kashmir markets see slump in businessPrice rise and protests expressing solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza has hit Eid shopping in Kashmir Valley as people have substantially cut on spending for the upcoming festivities.
“The business is not as good as it used to be Eid eve. Even by the conservative estimates, my drop in business is nearly 30 per cent compared to last year,” S Anjum, a bakery owner in Karan Nagar area of the city, said.
Muslims of Kashmir will observe Eid-ul-Fitr on Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on the appearance of crescent that will mark the end of holy month of Ramadan.
Anjum said rising prices of eatables was one of the main reasons for people cutting down on their spending.
“The customer footfall has not diminished by much but the average spending on eatables has gone down,” he added.
The Bakers’ association recently hiked the prices of their products by 15 to 20 per cent. The association said the price increase had become inevitable as the cost of raw material had gone up by nearly 40 per cent in the past six months.
The other reason for low key shopping is the events taking place in far off Palestinian territory of Gaza. The local residents have held several protests to express solidarity with the residents of 
Gaza, where over 1000 persons have been killed in the past month.
“Not only are people buying less, they are also not buying products of multinational companies known to support Israel. Soft drink and chocolate sales have taken a major hit at my outlet,” IrfanShafi, who runs a departmental store in posh Barzulla area, said. 
The lack of business activity is also evident from the smooth flow of traffic in commercial hub of LalChowk and adjoining areas.
“Not too many people are coming to the city, which means lesser vehicles on roads,” a traffic police official manning the beat at 
Regal Chowk, said.
Although the banks were, by and large, closed due to public holiday, the ATMs  have witnessed just brisk activity.
An official of Jammu and Kashmir Bank said they were not “too hard pressed” for reloading cash in the ATMs in the city.

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