Mathura/Agra– A spurt in sales of consumer products, including cars and two-wheelers, during the five-day long Diwali festivities brought temporary cheer to markets in Agra, Mathura, Firozabad, after a prolonged subdued business environment in the post-demonetisation and GST phase.

For how long will this trend continue, ask shopkeepers of Kinari Bazar and Johri Bazar in Agra, who remain confused, uncertain and generally despondent after the multi-pronged attack on the informal sector of the economy.

“We do not think the markets after Diwali will continue to do brisk business as there is a general decline in the availability of liquid cash with all sectors. The sentiment is low, though we are expecting the marriage season to help sustain the momentum,” said Bankey Lal Maheshwari, a textile shopkeeper of the busy Johri Bazar.

The markets reported decline in sale of gift items, fire crackers and Chinese lights, tough halwai shops continued to remain swamped with demands for sweets in attractive packagings.

“Compared to previous years, our sales did not even touch 50 per cent mark for gift items this Diwali,” said Rajendra of Vidhyarthi Stores on Moti Lal Nehru road.

Estimates of sales in Agra markets ranged between Rs 500 crore to Rs 1,000 crore between Dhan Teras and Diwali. Easy loans helped boost automobile sales, helping company showrooms meet their targets.

In Mathura, the main market around the Holi Gate dazzled with lights offering a striking range of consumer products attractively displayed. “Sales however remained subdued and confined to just one day,” said Ashok Kumar, a shop keeper, near the famous Dwarkadheesh temple.

With scanty monsoon rains in the region, the vast rural hinterland is already alarmed at the prospect of poor crops.

“Money is being saved for buying diesel to run pumps and generators. We hope the winter rains will compensate but you never know,” said Mohan Choudhary of Goverdhan.

Agra has received hardly 50 per cent of its annual average rainfall. “The Yamuna river is already dry and we fear acute drinking water shortage,” said Devashish Bhattacharya of the River Connect Campaign.(IANS)

IndUS Business Journal

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