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Coronavirus scare hits sale of holi items in city

By CITY Correspondent

GUWAHATI, March 8 - The widespread coronavirus scare has taken a toll on the Holi market in the city with the sale of colours and other paraphernalia taking a discernible dip this time.

Traders had been hoping that sales would pick up a day before the festival, but the footfall on Sunday failed to lift their spirits.

A wholesale trader of Fancy Bazar said, �Due to the fear of coronavirus, the market is a bit slow this time. Not many people are buying water guns and colours. Only 40 per cent of the stocks have been sold. Sales are very low.�

Shopkeepers, however, are not trading in Chinese products.

�Not a single product is being imported from China this time because of the coronavirus scare. We do not have any Chinese items,� he added.

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that he would not celebrate Holi this year due to coronavirus outbreak, the State Health Department too advised people not to play Holi.

�We must avoid mass gatherings as a precautionary measure to prevent spread of coronavirus. We urge people not to play Holi this year even though no coronavirus case has been detected in the State so far,� Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Pijush Hazarika told a press conference here on Saturday.

Apart from natural colours, some of the shopkeepers were selling chemical colours as well.

�These chemical colours are from old stock. These are in demand among a section of customers, particularly the youth,� a shopkeeper said. The natural Holi colours are being sold at Rs 100-120 per kg.

�We are selling colours made in India only. We do not sell any chemical items. People have a false notion that we are selling colours made in China. We have no Chinese item this year,� Manoj Saha, another shopkeeper said.

Shri Shri Gopalananda Ashram Committee of Shantipur also urged people not to play colours this year.

The Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) today conducted a drive and evicted 20 street vendors selling Holi items at Fancy Bazar. The GMC collected fines to the tune of Rs 6000 from shopkeepers.

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