Guwahati: With the 75th Independence Day only hours away, the tri-colour is now everywhere along the streets and traffic signals of Guwahati. From large cloth banners on masts high up the skyline to small hand-held versions and badges, the India flag is ready to be sold at every corner of the city.
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Traders and street vendors, however, say there is a drop in demand. “Due to COVID-19, there is a 100 per cent difference this time. Ban on inter-district movement has also affected the sales. Earlier, we used to see a festive fervour among customers, which is not visible this time. Until now, I haven’t received a single customer,” says Baby Kalita, a local vendor.
Similarly, the flag manufacturers are also badly affected by the lockdown and witnessing a dip in demand for the national flag. Rakhi Choudhury and her team of artisans at the Assam Khadi & Village Industries Board in Guwahati otherwise remains busy from the month of June after they receive orders from across the state. This year, however, the number of orders has taken a hit due to COVID-19.
“Due to COVID-19, the number of orders has gone down. We did receive a few orders recently. We otherwise get orders for around 10,000 flags,” Choudhury said.
The production of flags also took a hit due to the restrictions in operation hours, which turned out to be a challenge for artisans to commute to the production unit in Guwahati’s Chandmari area.
Prices of these flags also had to be increased due to the increase in the price of cloth and raw material. These flags are only supplied to government-owned establishments or to someone who wants to personally hoist the tri-colour. Meanwhile, the plastic made flags sold by hawkers and vendors are mostly brought from Delhi, Ahmedabad and Kolkata.
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