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Kolkata markets deserted for lack of Bangladeshi visitors

Black_cats

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Kolkata markets deserted for lack of Bangladeshi visitors
Nawaz Farhin Antara
  • Published at 02:19 pm September 9th, 2020
File photo of a street in Kolkata Courtesy: Atikur Rahman

File photo of a street in Kolkata Dhaka Tribune

60% of the buyers are from Bangladesh who are not visiting now due to travel restrictions
Most of the markets in West Bengal, particularly based in Kolkata, are open to the public now but usually have a deserted look due to lack of buyers.

The markets have been open to the public from June; however, most of them are missing the usual crowd as they are receiving only local customers. The larger number of buyers – Bangladeshis – are missing currently as travel restrictions are imposed on them for the Covid-19 pandemic.

One such example is Khazana Sarees, a famous saree shop at Barabazar Market in Kalutolla area of Kolkata, India.

The brand has many branches in West Bengal, including one in Kolkata New Market, which are very popular among Bangladeshis. It is receiving only 30% of customers right now.

“The Bangladeshi buyers, who are 60% of our total buyers, flock to our showrooms throughout the year and become 80% during Eid or Puja.

However, we missed them in the last few months leading to heavy loss to our businesses,” Laltu Pandit, a staff of the showroom, told this correspondent via WhatsApp.

“The branches have been open since June, but there are no tourists,” said the frustrated trader.

The situation is quite common for most Kolkata shops who are missing buyers particularly from Bangladesh. They are going through an extreme crisis due to the lack of buyers.

There are more than three hundred big and small residential hotels in different areas of Kolkata which are affected as well.

Marquis Street, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road, Park Street, Free-School Street, Barabazar, Razabazar, SN Banerjee Road, Chowringhee Place, Rash Behari Ave, Gariahat, Jawaharlal Nehru Rd Taltala, Netaji Subash Rd, Behala Old Bazar, Chitpur, Metiabruz, Sealdah, Howrah, New Market -- are the most popular areas among tourists.

Even many foreign money-exchange shops are closed now due to lack of tourists.

As Kolkata’s traders are largely dependent on Bangladeshi buyers, Bangladeshis are also dependent on shops of Kolkata -- not only for clothing or jewellery but for many essential items too.

Borhan Uddin Sagor, a lawyer, has been buying medicines for his mother, a heart and diabetic patient, from Kolkata since 2014.

“We used to buy medicines for three-four months, everytime. Now we have to rely on third parties to bring the medicines. The cost is double than the usual cost ofTk30,000 -- for medicines for three months,” said Borhan.

Shanaz Afrin, who owns an online shop, said for the last 10 years, her family has been visiting Kolkata twice a year for the purpose of shopping and travelling. The price of sarees is half in Kolkata than in Bangladesh, based on which she opened an online shop to sell products of Kolkata.

“But I am in trouble too,” she added.
How large is the number of Bangladeshi tourists in India?

One in every five tourists to India is from Bangladesh, with most tourists traveling to the country for holiday and recreational purposes.

Around 2.15 million and 2.25 million Bangladeshi tourists travelled to India in 2017 and 2018 respectively, while the number was at 1.38 million in 2016, according to the Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) data compiled by the Ministry of Tourism of India.

The data says visitors from Bangladesh usually stay for 14 days.

Mita Munshi, who owns Munshi Fashion at Kolkata New Market said tourists from Bangladesh -- the highest tourist generating country -- mostly stay in areas close to New Market.

“In my 20 years of experience, I have seen their huge attraction for Kolkata's sarees, kameez and jewellery,” he said, adding that the shops usually have sales of over Rs 1 million a day during Puja and Eid.

Leaders of different traders’ associations of Kolkata New Market told Dhaka Tribune via WhatsApp that markets are down due to pandemic and the scenario is same all over India as international flights are restricted.

However, they expect that customers will arrive surely if borders are opened -- centering the upcoming Puja holiday.

The losses faced in the last few months can be recovered to some extent if the borders are opened for this season, they said.

The Indian High Commission in Dhaka issued 1.5 million visas to Bangladesh nationals in 2019, the highest for any single country.

Adi Mohini Mohan Kanjilal, Suisse sarees, Bengal Silk sarees and many other saree brands are very popular among Bangladeshi customers. Kolkata’s Banarasi sarees have a special reputation.

For several years, there has also been a trend of shopping from Kolkata for wedding ceremonies.
Farhan Liaz, a prospective customer of Indian markets, said: “My wedding was postponed for three months as I wanted to do the shopping in Kolkata. We waited during the lockdown and later the ceremony was held casually at home.”

 

DalalErMaNodi

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Good, hope the economy takes a good hit, I've had it up to here with the incessant hate filled remarks from North Eastern tribals and know it all Malda dadas, let them learn where they stand.

North Eastern heroines will also get a taste of it soon, not too far away now, backward uncultured tribals.
 

Bilal9

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Good, hope the economy takes a good hit, I've had it up to here with the incessant hate filled remarks from North Eastern tribals and know it all Malda dadas, let them learn where they stand.

North Eastern heroines will also get a taste of it soon, not too far away now, backward uncultured tribals.
There is a section of people in Kolkata (Ghotis mostly) that are jealous of Bangladeshi money and influence.

They keep calling us "Kangladeshi" and "Katua". I don't think we should really patronize their businesses or establishments with our tourism dollars. Some of these are unfortunately hardcore Sanghi bootlickers and huge ingrates in spite of the money we give them in tourism and service dollars.

Unmentioned here as well is the amount of money Kolkata and WB gets for charging distribution for Bangladeshi imports from India coming through Kolkata. If we stopped importing things through Kolkata, the business activity in that town would come to a halt. When the sea transport route through Chennai and Visakhapatnam opens up using coastal container carriers, Kolkata businessmen will be in for a shock.

For a long time, I have been advocating that,

a) We should stop touring in bigoted India altogether, or
b) even if we do - we should only patronize non-Sanghi businesses

Since Kolkata dadas seem unlikely to prepare such a list of non-Sanghi businesses, I believe option a) will be a better choice, meaning discouraging people from going altogether.

Stopping greedy Bangladeshi women from buying cheap Indian clothes in Kolkata is a huge hurdle though....:disagree:
 
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saif

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I am for stopping Bangladeshis from traveling to India so that they cannot spend money on Indian sarees and jewelries.
 

DalalErMaNodi

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I am for revoking citizenship of all delusional Bangladeshis who'd rather buy handicrafts from India (specifically Kolkata) rather than from our own ailing yet extremely skilled and gifted artisans back home.
 

Homo Sapiens

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There is a section of people in Kolkata (Ghotis mostly) that are jealous of Bangladeshi money and influence.

They keep calling us "Kangladeshi" and "Katua". I don't think we should really patronize their businesses or establishments with our tourism dollars. Some of these are unfortunately hardcore Sanghi bootlickers and huge ingrates in spite of the money we give them in tourism and service dollars.

Unmentioned here as well is the amount of money Kolkata and WB gets for charging distribution for Bangladeshi imports from India coming through Kolkata. If we stopped importing things through Kolkata, the business activity in that town would come to a halt. When the sea transport route through Chennai and Visakhapatnam opens up using coastal container carriers, Kolkata businessmen will be in for a shock.

For a long time, I have been advocating that,

a) We should stop touring in bigoted India altogether, or
b) even if we do - we should only patronize non-Sanghi businesses

Since Kolkata dadas seem unlikely to prepare such a list of non-Sanghi businesses, I believe option a) will be a better choice, meaning discouraging people from going altogether.

Stopping greedy Bangladeshi women from buying cheap Indian clothes in Kolkata is a huge hurdle though....:disagree:
Not only billion dollars shopping and tourism income from Bangladeshi travellers, but West Bengal's entire export business is utterly dependent on Bangladesh. West Bengal has just 3 percent export share of India ( 10 billion out of 350 billion dollar for whole India). Most of this 10 billion dollar export goes to Bangladesh. If Bangladeshi people stop going there and halt business with them, entire West Bengal economy will crush to the ground. That state already has the heaviest debt burden within India. But Ghatias from West Bengal are oblivious to these facts and think they somehow own Bangladesh, which is evident from their attitude with Bangladeshi tourists in Kolkata and also on social media.
 
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Bilal9

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Not only billion dollars shopping and tourism income from Bangladeshi travellers, but West Bengal's entire export business is utterly dependent on Bangladesh. West Bengal has just 3 percent export share of India ( 10 billion out of 350 billion dollar for whole India). Most of this 10 billion dollar export goes to Bangladesh. If Bangladeshi people stop going there and halt business with them, entire West Bengal economy will crush to the ground. That state already has the heaviest debt burden within India. But Ghatias from West Bengal are oblivious to these facts and think they somehow own Bangladesh, which is evident from their attitude with Bangladeshi tourists in Kolkata and also on social media.
Hajar holeyo Gati bhai.

Onek purana shomporko, old relationship.

Jhogra kortey chaileyo mukhey kotha othena -for old time's sake. :disagree:

However Didi is oblivious to ground realities....we should do a few signature moves and make her understand who calls the shots now.

Remember when we shut down Benapole border a few months ago?

Their businessmen were all up in arms and immediately went to Didi for a solution.
 

El Sidd

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Contrary to popular belief, it is West Bengal that depends upon Bangladesh for sustainable economy than things to be other way around.

Bangladesh will be ready to uplift West Bengal by the end of the decade.
 

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