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KOLKATA: In the run-up to Christmas, bulk orders for party flags, masks, T-shirts and caps have boosted the business of a section of traders at Old China Bazaar in Burrabazar before the civic poll in the city on December 19. This is helping them recover from the losses incurred due to the pandemic-induced restrictions and the cracker ban during Diwali.
The traders at Burrabazar said that the cracker ban had hit them badly for the last two years but the situation took a turn for the worse this time with low key festivities due to the restrictions imposed to tackle the second wave of the pandemic. The civic election has shot up the demand of the poll merchandise at a time when the Covid restrictions have been eased and the business sectors of the city are swinging back to pre-pandemic activities.

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“During the assembly election the second wave of the pandemic was at its peak and this also resulted in low key festivities in the city. Diwali was very bad due to the cracker ban and we could not open our shops. With the Covid situation being under control and a high-octane political campaign going on for the election, sales have hit a two-year high, “said Mahinder Kumar Gupta, one of the traders at Old China Bazaar.
“The cracker industry is going through a tough phase and the pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to our business. Since we started stocking up on the poll merchandise, it has turned the tide in our favor. By selling party flags only, we are recovering from the loss that we had suffered during Diwali this year, ”he said Kunal Agarwal, manager of AK Paul Stores.
Apart from party flags and party symbols, T-shirts, saris, masks, printed cellphone covers, bike and car sticker magnets have also jacked up the business of the traders.
“The sale of poll merchandise started picking up a pace since the Bhowanipore bypoll while it has reached a new high before the civic election. With more civic elections being lined up at Bidhannagar, Howrah and other areas in the coming months, we hope for better business in this financial year, ”said Prasanta Dutta, another trader at Burrabazar.

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