Agartala, Feb 10: As if the effects of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic demonetization weren’t sufficient, a so-far super successful trade fair in Tripura has taken a big-time hit. Customers in the state have outright turned down the 27th Tripura Industries and Commerce Fair in a continued effect of what the traders explained as bank withdrawal limit blues.
The Fair concluded at International Fair Complex in Hapania on Friday. According to officials of the Department of Industries and Commerce, the sales records this year heavily came down from the previous year’s records.
“The cumulative sales of Industry and Commerce Fair this year has summed up to be Rs. 2 crore 80 lakh. The record was collected from across all 133 stalls that were set up for the fair”, the organizing committee official said.
While the sales report for the first one week, till February 02 to be more precise, registered a cumulative total of Rs. 44 lakhs 42 thousand 912, the figures saw a steep climb in the second week of the fair.
A source in the Mela organizers, however, said that the steep rise in sales included a good number of institutional orders, which still indicated that interest of common folks centering the Industries Fair has considerably declined.
When asked about the reason of the unexpected sloppy sales this year, Pramathesh Paul (name changed), a small businessman who joined the Fair with his stall of cheap plastic-ware, said that there was just not enough money with the customers to buy stuffs that are usually available on discount at Fairs.
“You see, I have small-time plastic products and there is always a section of buyers who come to traders catering requirements of the lower middle class and the urban poors. But those, who came with their stocks of furniture and home appliances, suffered unexpected losses”, he said.
A customer and a state government employee said that he had come to get a few kitchen and bathroom appliances on the very final day, that too after the RBI withdrew ceiling withdrawal ceilings from savings bank accounts this week.
“We raise only good materials in the Industries and Commerce Fair. And the price of these stuffs, as you might imagine, would be relatively higher than local products. But there were hardly any takers this year”, a trader of a renowned furniture brand-dealer said.
Asked about the sales records from last year, an official of the Mela Organizing Committee said that the figures stood at Rs. 3 crore 10 lakhs in 2015-2016. The sales quantum has come down by Rs. 30 lakhs compared to the previous year.
MP and Chairman of TIDC Jitendra Choudhury inaugurated the 13-day long 27th Tripura Industries and Commerce Fair-2017 at the Agartala International Fair and Exhibition Ground in Hapania earlier on January 29. While the Fair housed 206 stalls last years, the Fair had barely 133 stalls this year..
Among the stalls that were set up in the Fair this year, 17 were set up by the state government and other Public Sector Undertakings. Sixty other stalls were set up by local traders, 13 stalls were set up by on behalf of SSI, MSME and PMEGP. Apart from these, 17 stalls were set up by industrialists and entrepreneurs from Bangladesh, 24 stalls were set up by entrepreneurs from outside Tripura. Two automobile companies set up stalls in the Fair as well.
–By Debraj Deb