Hyderabad: Sales of woollen clothing and blankets received a cold response this season. Those who put up roadside shops or stalls from Chadarghat to the Nayapul bridge during this winter failed to clear much of their stocks, unlike in the past years when sales were brisk.
Every winter, these salesmen travel all the way from Nepal or Odisha or West Bengal to cities where their ware is a seasonal requirement. This year, one reason for the fall in sales here was the absence of chilly weather conditions. With winter set for exit by now, these sellers are grim-faced and packing their bags to return home. The earnings this time, they say, were meagre.
Nepali sweaters are popular here. Families make these at their homes for the whole year and sell them during the winter season.
Ramdiv Tappa, a Nepali by origin, is in this trade for many years. “I used to come along with my father before the start of winter season, set up our stalls, and put on display hand-woven woolen sweaters, mufflers, kids wear etc. Years ago, these had good demand in Indian cities. Gradually, items imported from other nations started flooding the market. They are cheaper,” he says.
This time, the traders have set up over 100 shops or other outlets in the surrounding areas. They cook food inside these shops with small stoves. For them, the three or four months’ stay in the city is always a memorable trip.
Sudhiraj Pani from Gajapati, Orissa, said: “My family is back home. As soon as the winter is over, I will return home. I miss my four children.”
“Sales were low this year. Usually we fetched some three to four thousand a day. Most shopkeepers get the goods either on ‘pay later’ or ‘pay half’ basis, and settle the dues when they returned at end of the season. Many families are dependent on the sales we make here,” he said.
Kumood, another trader who set up an outlet near the state library said, “For the past 20 years, I have been putting up my shop at this place. Cold winters help us sell our stuff. Temperature did not drop so much this year. The city felt the cold for a day or two. So sales were less. What we earn from here helps us feed our families year-long.”