Sunday, 29 November, 2020

No Dashain Mela events this year


By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, Oct. 24: Dashain is all about wearing new clothes and eating good food for Samjhana Karki, 23, of Balaju. But this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Karki and family are compromising with their Dashain celebrations.
"As my dad got furloughed from his job, currently I am the only earning member of the family," said Karki, who works as a salesgirl in a cosmetic store. "But due to the pandemic, the cosmetic business has all dried up and the owner has said that my salary would also be compromised."
Karki said that Dashain, which used to be the peak season for the cosmetic business to thrive, had been affected by the pandemic. "Now my family will not be able to enjoy the festivities like we used to."
As the COVID-19 pandemic has hit all the sectors and the economy hard, thousands of people here in the Kathmandu Valley share the same story like Karki's, not being able to buy new clothes and other supplies for the family this festive season.
The entrepreneurs, on the other hand, are also facing hardship as they attend only a handful of customers in a day. Owing to the increasing threat of the novel coronavirus, no festival-centric Melas and bazaars have been organised this year, said Rajesh Kazi Shrestha, President of the Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC).
"I own a clothing store at Bhrikutimandap. In the previous years, we used to earn a decent amount during the Dashain festival. But this year, as the government has prohibited unnecessary crowding and as the threat of infection is also on the rise, I hardly get three or four pieces of clothes sold in day," said Punya Rijal, 56.
Rijal said that in the previous years, the vibe at the Bhrikutimandap area used to be different during the festive season. Especially in the Dashain Bazaar, thousands of people used to shop from here at a fair price and it used to be a win-win situation for both, the customers and shopkeepers, Rijal added.
"This year, only the stock clothes have been piling up while our pockets are empty," he added.
Meanwhile, NCC President Shrestha said, "No Dashain mela and bazaars have been organised this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Entrepreneurs of all sectors have been facing difficulties from the last seven months due to it."
He also grieved that the government had overlooked the problem faced by the small and large scale entrepreneurs amid the pandemic. "We had expected the market during Dashain to drop down by 50 – 60 per cent this year. But exceeding our expectations, market selling has stooped to only 10 – 15 per cent."
Stating that all the sectors had been equally affected due to the pandemic, Shrestha said that it was about time for the government to provide some relief to the entrepreneurs. "Along with providing relief and incentive to the health sector, as the guardian of the citizens, the government must also address the problems faced by the Nepali entrepreneurs this year," he added. 

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