GUWAHATI, April 27 - It is often said that technological advancements always come at a price. If this saying holds any relevance in the present context, petty traders dealing in low-end wristwatches and transistor radio sets (transistors) in Guwahati are surely the ones at the receiving end.
Thanks to the boom in the all-in-one smart phone market, these traditional possessions are being shown the door.
While the petty wristwatch sellers have slowly switched on to an altogether different line of business, those dealing in electronic items like the transistor have cut down on their investments on it.
All the major watch markets at Fancy Bazar, Paltan Bazar and Ganeshguri, which once used to be a hub for such products, have witnessed an unprecedented slump in deals.
Suman Das is one of the few survivors in the low-end wristwatch market in Paltan Bazar area. �I am 43 now and started the business of repairing and selling wristwatches 18 years back. In the last seven to eight years when cell phone companies started introducing multi-utility cell phones and that too at never-before prices, petty traders like us started facing the heat,� Das said.
�In between, the penetration made by Chinese products too affected us, but that was for a short term as the quality was inferior and longevity too was less than the locally made ones. Cell phones are here to stay and all set to force our exit. We cannot help it. I am largely relying on repair work and sale of sunglasses,� Das said.
Chandan Dutta, the owner of MA Watch, was however smart enough to anticipate the inevitable. He now owns a garment shop in the same space under the banner of MA Cloth Store.
�The cheap wristwatches were most of a necessity than a style quotient and when the cell phone companies offered them the same facility with added features, why would someone go for anything else,� argued Dutta.
He said, of the nearly 25 wristwatch vendors, there are hardly three to four left in the Paltan Bazar area. The rest have switched over to other lines of business.
For those dealing in radio sets believe that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi�s �Maan Ki Baat� could not inject the dose of revival in the radio markets in Assam.
�Slump in the sale of radio sets too was attributed to advent of multi-utility mobile sets. Some of us were pinning hope on Modi�s �Maan Ki Baat� programme, but unfortunately, even that could not fetch us the desired results,� said Mohit Jajodia of Santosh Sales located in Lakhtokia area, one of the major wholesalers of radio sets in the State.
Jajodia said, �The sales have dropped by more than 60 per cent in the last few years.�
Pramod Gandhi of Sugam Sales said, �First cassette (tape), then CDs and radios, all these have been pushed out of the market by the mobile industry. After being in the business for almost 35 years, I have ceased to deal in these items. This is the phenomenon across the country.�
Nayan Debnath, owner of Nath Radio Service located at Goreswar said, �Earlier during the Bihu season, I used to sell at least 250 radio sets, but now the sale hardly crosses 30.�
�Only a few select elderly persons go for radio sets even in rural areas,� said Debnath, who came to Guwahati to place an order for electronic items at a dealer in Guwahati.