Less crowed in Puja Market. Why?

The Crossed Eye / Sanjib Deb

It has become a common point of discussion in most of the addas that this year the markets are less crowded in this full season of Durga Puja, the biggest festival of the state, compared to previous years. Majority of the participants attributes this phenomenon to the lack of money flow in the society that is being reflected in the market. Buying new cloths before Durga Puja is a practice prevailing in our society since time immemorial. Even the poorest of the society try to give one new dress to their children before puja. But this year the economic condition is so pathetic that, leave alone the poor, even the lower middle class is not resorting to buy a new cloth for their dearest once. It is the ultimate conclusion of all adda searching reason for less crowded market. 

The reasons for lack of money flow in the markets are also not remaining out of the purview of the discussion and the solutions are also available almost like ready reference. Of course the massive anti-Ganja drive, launched by the new government after coming into power one and half year ago, is attributed as the biggest cause for slowdown of money flow in the society and in the market. Non-payment of contractors' bills, lack of work under employment generation schemes are the other reasons, cited by most, as reason for less number of people rushing into the market. 

There is no scope to dishonor the validity of all these reasons. Firstly, there is no scope to deny that the anti-Ganja drive had driven away large quantity of money from the market. The government had tried to replace this vacuum by pumping money in the villages through steps like procurement of paddy but these were too inadequate compared to the money got withdrawn due to anti-Ganja drive. Moreover, being illegal, the money earned by Ganja trade always have a spending spree which is not available in case of legally earned money through trade like selling paddy. The slow pace of disbursement of government payments especially the contractors' bill is another reason for shrinkage of money flow in the market. However, the government statistics does not support the allegation that money flow in the market through employment generation schemes has reduced. 

When these are the reality there is another side of the story too. That is during this period a large amount of money has reached to the market through bank loans. These loans were disbursed through various government projects like MUDRA, start up etc. The Credit-Deposit ratio which was 48 per cent when the Left Front Government goes one and half years ago has reached at 56 per cent now. But there is no reason to believe that the money come into market through these sources was not enough to match the deficit caused in marker for the earlier mentioned reasons. 

Standing in this precinct it is difficult to attribute the reasons for less rush of people in the markets during this puja season to dearth of money flow alone and needs to go for search in little more deeper. The reason can be found in the growing influence of technology in our society and an unusual change taking place in our behavior especially of the younger generation. 

Our mentality towards the traditional concept of market first suffered a jolt when the big shopping malls came into being and that has taken another radical change with the arrival of online marketing. Crowds in the traditional markets got thinner after the big shopping malls came into being and the youths started deserting the markets after online business gripped their imagination. Big shopping malls also falling victim of this new phenomenon. Online supply of food items has further aggravated it. 

These developments are indicating a major change not only in our behavior but in our test too. There was a time when the entire family used to go to the market with the head of the family to buy new dress for the puja. The very idea of going to market used to excite every member of the family and that was a very special day for them which used to end with having sweets in a Mistanna Bhander. 

This behavior undergone a minor change after 1970s when youths instead of their family started preferring to go to market with their friends and spend time in restaurants instead of Mistanna Bhanders. It's a change but the natural outward instinct of human behavior remained intact. But what is going on now is totally against what we used to consider a natural instinct and youths becoming home bound.

Instead of going to market, hopping shops one after another the youths are now preferring to choose their dress or other things on mobile, giving order online and receiving the goods sitting at home. The preferred destination of restaurants also losing their attraction and the youths wait in their home when the deliveryman of Sweggy or Zometto will come. 

The reason for gradually thinning crowd in the markets may be stressed in this change of attitude and behavior instead of the easy solution of attributing that people are not rushing into market because of dearth of money. Our society witnessed economic depression on many previous occasions but it was beyond imagination that people will not go to market to buy new dress for puja. Now also people might have buying dress but not visiting the market. 

Writer is the editor of North East colors

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