Pune: Laxmi Road bustles after two months, shopkeepers rue absence of customers, employees

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Pune, May 21, 2020: Some of the shops waiting for customers on Laxmi Road, which has been experiencing drought for the past two months, reopened on Wednesday. After two months, the traders and workers who entered the shops bowed their heads at the door, saluted goddess Lakshmi, the main means of subsistence, and resumed customer service.

With the opening of the main market in the vicinity of Laxmi Road to some extent, the belief that life in the city will be restored has started to build among the traders as well as the citizens. In the fourth lockdown, the administration relaxed the rules intending to streamline the market and public life.

Following the rules laid down by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), some shops selling jewellery, footwear and clothes opened on Wednesday. Due to the first day and the shortage of workers, all the work including cleaning was done by the owners and their families. Cleaning, disinfection and other activities were going on throughout the day. The belief that we can re-emerge as customers start coming to the shops seems to have been driving the businessmen. “People were coming, some were guessing from the car, some were inquiring,” shopkeepers said.

There was curiosity among traders, workers and the general public as to when Laxmi Road and the surrounding market would open after the opening of various shops in some areas. Though the city’s market has expanded, the citizens have a different belief about the main markets like Laxmi Road, Kumthekar Road, Tilak Road, Mandai, Shanipar and Raviwar Peth.

Most of the jewellery shops on Laxmi Road opened on Wednesday. The shops were sanitized. For safety, sanitizers, gloves, masks, temperature measuring devices are being used. People were coming after the shop opened on Wednesday; some were sitting in the car inquiring and taking guesses. The problem is not having workers, but there is a way out. Jewellery or any object has to be selected beforehand, Balasaheb Amarale, president, Pune District Congress Traders Federation.