Panaji: Owing to the political tensions between India-Pakistan-China following the surgical strike, traders selling Chinese lamps and lanterns are facing a hit in the local bazaar.
The Panaji market which is usually bustling with activity days leading up to the festival of lights, wore a dim look. This was especially at the lamp stalls as citizens snubbed Chinese-made lights, and instead favoured Indian ones.
“China has continued support towards Pakistan and voted in the United Nations against Indian interests. As a citizen, not buying Chinese decorations for Diwali is my form of protest. Henceforth, I will not even purchase electronics and gadgets that are of Chinese make,” said Porvorim resident, Aditya Nagvenkar.
Shop owners told TOI that customers first ask them about the make of the product before laying their hands on any of them.
“From rice lights to LED diyas, most of our products are China-made. The Indian ones are expensive and in limited stock, yet people ask for them,” said Krishna Gaonkar who has set up a temporary stall in Panaji market for the week.
“People are seriously boycotting Chinese decorations this year. Therefore, henceforth we will not order goods from there. We’ve already cancelled 50% of the ordered products,” said Manisha Desai from the store, Muralidhar in Panaji.
The Margao and Vasco markets are also experiencing a lot of change with the drop in sales of Chinese goods. “Many customers do not prefer Chinese products anymore,” said Abdul Matin Carol of Daud Electricals, Margao.
“Sales of Chinese goods have gone down by 30-40%, customers now prefer Indian products,” said Ramakant Kesarkar, a Margao-based dealer in electricals.
Salesman from Vasco-based Prince Hardware, Om Prakash said that businessmen are not too keen on promoting the use of Chinese lights either.
“People have started an online campaign over WhatsApp and Facebook discouraging citizens to purchase such lights. This has affected the business with at least 50% reduction in its sales,” added a salesman at Raj Electricals, Vasco.
One can’t be sure if the boycotting of China-made lights is hurting the Chinese economy or not, but the repercussions of the strained India-Pakistan relations are definitely showing their ripple effect on some businesspersons.
“The clash is between the leaders and representatives of India, Pakistan and China but it is the layman who has to bear the brunt. Small businessmen like us are facing the losses. Who is going to push the sale of these products for us?” lamented Surekha Narvekar.