Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, June 2
Sarafa Bazaar, one of the famous jewellery markets of Ludhiana, is witnessing a lull these days. The two-month lockdown has given a major jolt to the jewellery business.
Most jewellers are sitting idle. There are no orders due to curbs on gatherings at functions these days.
Gopal Bhandari, president of Ludhiana Swarnkar Sangh, who owns Gopal Jewellers, said the lockdown had broken the backbone of the jewellery business and he didn’t see any possibility of business revival in near future.
"Owing to the lockdown, the market has witnessed about 90 per cent dip in footfall. We are unable to meet our daily expenditure in such low sales. Survival seems challenging now," said Gopal.
Gopal said in these times of Covid pandemic, people were not allowed to organise lavish marriages or other functions, which actually was the cause of a major dip in jewellery sales. "I request the government to at least give interest-free loans to the jewellers so that they could continue their business in these tough times. The government should also give permission to open marriage palaces and hotels so that people could celebrate marriages like they would in the past," said Gopal.
Another jeweller in the market, Rakesh Verma, who is also general secretary of the organisation, said although low festive spirit amid the Covid scare was the cause of a major dip in jewellery sales, the increasing gold price was also to blame for low footfall in the market. The gold price has reached Rs 47,000 per tola. How could we expect people to buy gold at this price?,” asserts Gopal.
Asked if he sees any possibility of business revival near Diwali, Dhanteras or in the coming winter, Verma said plainly speaking, he didn’t think the business would bounce back this year. "Wearing gold ornaments, which was considered a necessity during marriage functions before the lockdown, has now become a luxury. People don't feel like buying gold which is going beyond their reach these days," said Verma.
Verma said most workers employed at the jewellery shops here belonged to West Bengal and Maharashtra and they had returned to their native places.
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