For the first time in its history, Baazi Bazaar will continue to conduct business beyond Diwali. Since its inception in 1996, the fair has been wound up on Diwali evening, when the traders joined the celebration with a spectacular display of fireworks. This year, the fair will be open till 10pm the following evening.
“Kali Puja and Diwali are being celebrated on Sunday. But Baazi Bazaar will continue to trade in crackers till 10pm on Monday. Kolkata Police has given us permission to operate till then,” said Burrabazar Fireworks Dealers’ Association joint secretary Santanu Datta. The permission has been granted since the Kali Puja new moon extends till 10am on Monday. Traders are hoping to make some sales for Chhath, scheduled on November 2-3, on the extra day.
That, however, may not mean more business for the 40-odd traders who have set up shop on the Shahid Minar ground at Maidan. With overcast skies and drizzle on Wednesday — and the Met office predicting more rain on Thursday — the traders are wary of slower business than last year when the fair venue was shifted to Vivekananda Park. Last year, turnover had plunged by nearly half against the previous year’s.
“We were rooting for the venue to be fixed on Maidan for its central location and were hoping to make up for the losses incurred last year. But nothing can be worse than rain. Though the Met office has said it will remain dry on Kali Puja-Diwali, if rains persist in the run-up to the festival, customers will be wary and won’t make any substantial purchases,” said association member Sushil Kumar Golcha.
Though many shops had been set up on Wednesday, few customers turned up to the fair ground that had turned slushy. If it rains more heavily on Thursday, the footfall will drop further. “First the ban on popular crackers, then the uncertainty of where the fair will be held and now the weather — the odds are stacking up against us,” said another association member, A N Paul.
Source: Times of India