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They came to add fragrance to Holi, then saw their colours fade away

By Rituraj Borthakur
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GUWAHATI, March 11 - Standing under a shed of a nearby paan shop, a perturbed Raju stares at the sacks of Holi colours he put up for sale along the footpath at Kamarpatty Chariali at Fancy Bazar � the entire lot covered by a large polythene sheet to prevent damages due to rain.

He had arrived from Kanpur last night with three quintals of perfumed Holi colours, unaware that this sojourn to Guwahati would not be as colourful as it had been in the past.

Every year, scores of vendors travel to Guwahati from Hathras and Kanpur in UP to sell perfumed colours made in factories in western UP. However, their number has been dwindling, primarily due to growing inclination for herbal products and diminishing returns.

�This year, it will be awful. Since morning, there had been just a couple of customers due to rain. We just have two days to do the business and one is already gone. Most of us have invested money, which was borrowed at rates as high as 10 to 15 per cent. We are worried if we can even get what we have invested, forget about profit,� Raju says.

Another vendor from Kanpur, Maqbul has brought around two quintals and he, too, wore a worried look as he stood alongside Raju.

�Earlier, over 100 to 150 vendors used to come every year. Last year, around 75 came. This year, 40 of us have come here to do business. We are not sure if anyone will come from next year, giving the bleak prospects,� Maqbul explained.

�Last year, I brought two quintals and did brisk business. Eventually, I had to buy another quintal from here and sold that too, before returning home,� he added.

These vendors are selling the perfumed colours for Rs 100 a kg. They say their investment, including transportation costs, come to around Rs 70 a kg.

Some have brought over six to seven quintals of colours, besides water guns, masks and other paraphernalia. There are over six varieties of colours.

The leader of the vendors, Bhure, said these vendors have been coming to Guwahati from western UP during the last 25 years, but their numbers are decreasing every year. They display the products along the footpaths in Fancy Bazar.

�Profits have decreased. This year, the weather gods have been ruthless. Let�s see what�s in store for us tomorrow,� he says.

Western UP is famous for its multi-crore Holi colour industry.

The Holi colour manufacturing units are mainly located in Hathras district of western UP. Some units are also based in Kanpur and Mathura. Hathras caters to the demand from other parts of the country during Holi and for occasions round the year.

The factory-made common gulal is perfumed and diluted in refined flour and arrowroot powder.

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They came to add fragrance to Holi, then saw their colours fade away

GUWAHATI, March 11 - Standing under a shed of a nearby paan shop, a perturbed Raju stares at the sacks of Holi colours he put up for sale along the footpath at Kamarpatty Chariali at Fancy Bazar � the entire lot covered by a large polythene sheet to prevent damages due to rain.

He had arrived from Kanpur last night with three quintals of perfumed Holi colours, unaware that this sojourn to Guwahati would not be as colourful as it had been in the past.

Every year, scores of vendors travel to Guwahati from Hathras and Kanpur in UP to sell perfumed colours made in factories in western UP. However, their number has been dwindling, primarily due to growing inclination for herbal products and diminishing returns.

�This year, it will be awful. Since morning, there had been just a couple of customers due to rain. We just have two days to do the business and one is already gone. Most of us have invested money, which was borrowed at rates as high as 10 to 15 per cent. We are worried if we can even get what we have invested, forget about profit,� Raju says.

Another vendor from Kanpur, Maqbul has brought around two quintals and he, too, wore a worried look as he stood alongside Raju.

�Earlier, over 100 to 150 vendors used to come every year. Last year, around 75 came. This year, 40 of us have come here to do business. We are not sure if anyone will come from next year, giving the bleak prospects,� Maqbul explained.

�Last year, I brought two quintals and did brisk business. Eventually, I had to buy another quintal from here and sold that too, before returning home,� he added.

These vendors are selling the perfumed colours for Rs 100 a kg. They say their investment, including transportation costs, come to around Rs 70 a kg.

Some have brought over six to seven quintals of colours, besides water guns, masks and other paraphernalia. There are over six varieties of colours.

The leader of the vendors, Bhure, said these vendors have been coming to Guwahati from western UP during the last 25 years, but their numbers are decreasing every year. They display the products along the footpaths in Fancy Bazar.

�Profits have decreased. This year, the weather gods have been ruthless. Let�s see what�s in store for us tomorrow,� he says.

Western UP is famous for its multi-crore Holi colour industry.

The Holi colour manufacturing units are mainly located in Hathras district of western UP. Some units are also based in Kanpur and Mathura. Hathras caters to the demand from other parts of the country during Holi and for occasions round the year.

The factory-made common gulal is perfumed and diluted in refined flour and arrowroot powder.