Lockdown forces complete closure of Agra’s wholesale ‘petha’ market

Agra Petha

AGRA: Agra’s wholesale ‘petha’ market has announced its complete closure from Sunday after it suffered huge losses in the business following the nationwide lockdown to stop the spread of novel coronavirus.

Petha, a sweetmeat, is the pride of Agra, other than the Taj Mahal, of course.

The city’s Petha Mandi located at Noori Darwaja has come to a grinding halt due to the lockdown, forcing the traders to shut the market. Even goods kept in these shops are now completely rotten, due to which the merchants have to suffer heavy losses.

“Post-lockdown, the situation will turn gloomier as 30 per cent of the population in the market won’t survive,” said Sanjeev Singhal, general secretary of the Petha Mandi Association.

“Nearly half of the traders have already migrated from here”, he added. He said there are 500 industries related to ‘petha’ in Agra and about 40 to 50 thousand traders, artisans and others are associated with the trade. Artisans have left for their homes. “There is a loss of about Rs 100 crore to the business,” he said.

“No advisory has been issued by the association. The shopkeepers have neither been asked to pay up their rents nor has a single shopkeeper paid the rent,” Singhal said. Laxman Singhal, a resident of Noori Gate, Agra, has a petha shop and factory.

He said the shelf-life of ‘petha’ is hardly 10-12 days and only 5-6 days for ‘angoori petha’ “I keep up to 40 kilos of fruit (which makes ‘petha’) in my factory, that is, just one day’s stock, there are about 50 factories and more than 100 shops at Noori Gate, where ‘petha’ is available,” said Singhal.

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