The wholesale cloth market, a multi-storey building at Calibre Plaza AC complex, Bhadaur House, and other shops in its vicinity is one of the biggest business centres in this part of the country having around 800 shops dealing in textile material. Prior to the lockdown, customers from all over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi visited the market. However, footfall is negligible these days.
The lockdown has pushed our business (textile) to at least one and a half years back and nobody is sure when the trade will be back on track again. — Gurcharan Singh Chann, President, Calibre Plaza Shopkeepers Association
The area wore a deserted look with the administration permitting business operations with certain riders.
Rajesh Khanna, president of the Punjab Wholesale Cloth Merchants Association, said the textile traders had suffered losses worth several crores due to the lockdown. Since no big functions/gatherings are permitted, people are not making purchases. The stocks have piled up amid poor demand. Left with only 8 to 10 per cent of workforce, it is difficult to overcome the adverse situation, said Khanna.
He urged the government to announce financial assistance for the textile community such as waiving interest on bank loans, charges by the municipal corporation and returning the GST amount.
Gurcharan Singh Chann, president, Calibre Plaza Shopkeepers Association, said after relaxations, they decided to resume business with 1:3 ratio attendance (one owner and three employees).
As the administration had allowed only dispatch of goods, we opted to switch over to the online sale of products and deliver them on doorstep.
By this time, the production of winter items would have commenced which now seemed not possible, and they wanted to make the best use of the remaining period to clear the summer stock and tide over the losses to some extent, added Singh.
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