TODAY -

Changing face of Ningol Chakkouba
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 28 2019: With rapid urbanization, the people of Manipur are also steering more towards mall culture and on-line shopping spree, with adverse impact on the business prospect of the unorganised retailer (small businesses).

This impact is more pronounced with this year's Ningol Chakkouba festival and this has also given rise to questions regarding the fate of the people involved in small businesses with the arrival of the Act East Policy.

With the coming of the Ningol Chakkouba festival, The Sangai Express went to the major Keithels of the State and witnessed that during the last few days, many people thronged to the market to buy items and goods for the festival.



Changing face of Ningol Chakkouba
Changing face of Ningol Chakkouba


However, the number of people was still comparatively less when compared to the past.

But it was seen that the shopping malls present in and around Imphal area were bursting with an insane amount of people.

Speaking to the people who are running small shops and businesses at Khwairamband Keithel, Paona bazaar, Thangal bazaar and Singjamei, it was learned that they were selling less during every major festival like Eid, Christmas etc (except Ningol Chakkouba) compared to the past.

One cloth seller at Khwairamband Keithel, identified as Th Phunachandra of Canchipur, said earlier, he used to sell goods worth around Rs 1 lakh during Ningol Chakkouba but this year, he has managed to sell only upto around Rs 40,000 .

He then expressed concern at the rising number of malls in and around Imphal area where goods are available at attractive prices even if they are of lower quality.

On the other hand another individual selling plastic and steel utensils at Paona Bazaar said that he could easily sell goods worth around Rs 15000-20000 per day in the past but now, he can hardly sell goods and items worth Rs 10,000 in a day.

Another shopkeeper also expressed the futility of competing with the well established shopping malls cropping up in the State.

Speaking to the paper, economist Chinglen Maisnam said that the urbanisation, rise in facility for internet access and shopping mall culture have led to falling economic activity in Khwairamband keithel and other areas.

He continued that the fierce competition among the small business and vendors for the decreasing customer base is also posing to be a huge challenge for the people involved in the said businesses.

Pointing out that the number of shopping malls will only increase with the coming of the Act East Policy, the economist said that it will pile even more pressure upon the already struggling small business owners of the State.

As such, he stressed on the need for the State Government to implement proper policy to ensure the survival of the small businesses before the Act East Policy comes into force.

He also said that it is important to improve the agriculture and horticulture sector and others as well in preparation for the Act East Policy.


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