Revellers started trickling into the relocated Bazi Bazar in south Kolkata’s Vivekananda Park on Sunday, but shopowners kept their fingers crossed hoping for an increase in the turnout in the next two evenings.
Even as a host of south Kolkata residents, who drove into Vivekananda Park off Southern Avenue on Sunday, were visibly happy with the new venue being closer to their homes, the sellers rued the shifting of the venue from the heart of the city as they suspect it would lead to a 30% drop in customer count.
“The cost of stalls and rent has increased manifold at this new venue. But we are still doubtful if we can get the same volume of customers we have been receiving at Maidan. Customers are slowly coming in but we just hope that there is a quick spurt in the number of customers by Diwali night,” said Sushil Kumar Golcha of Golcha Fireworks. He has been taking part in the fair since its inception.
Other traders lamented the recent ban on four leading firecrackers, including whistling rocket and noisy flower pot. They were also not happy with the blanket ban on sky lanterns in and around the airport. Both the directives were issued right ahead of Kali Puja.
“We had already stocked a number of such crackers. The last-minute ban, especially on sky lanterns in the Bidhannagar Commissionerate area from where we get a number of customers, will hit our sales,” said Jatin Chakraborty, another seller.
The customers, who visited the fair, said they were a bit sceptic as some of the stalls were not yet ready. But they were happy with the fair coming closer to home compared to earlier years. “This is the first time I have come to the fair and it looks great. The quality of crackers looks good and since it is in the heart of south Kolkata I will come again with a group of friends,” said Divya Rao, who had come with her husband and five-year-old daughter from Narendrapur.
Since its inception in 1995, the Bazi Bazaar has always been held at the Shahid Minar ground in Maidan. But this year, the fair was shifted to the new venue as the Army had initially declined permission to the fair.
To add to the woes of sellers, a number of crackers were recently banned, forcing the sellers to opt for basic crackers like fuljhari, rang mashal, charkhas and flower pots. “We have some new variants of flower pots like Butterfly, Tiny tots, Chiclet and Senorita. Ayyan, Manoranjan and Selfie are coming under the category of charkhi. Xtreme is a new version of flower pot which has a combination of three different colours. Tri Colour Akash is a new version of rocket firecracker which explodes and goes up in the air displaying three different colours. Colour Koti Green, Dance aur Dance, Golden Penny, Flora Fountain and Colour Twister are some of the other new crackers,” said Dibakar Samanta of KC Paul & Sons.
Source: Times of India