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Carts Selling Woollens Warm up to Customers

[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 03/01/05; January 5, 2003.]

D.N. Divakar
Express India
Sunday, January 05, 2003

Ambala: CHILLY winter has proved to be a boon for those selling low-priced woolens on rehris and pharis. With labourers, daily wagers and lower middle class people invading their 'establishments', small-time dealers seem to have made up for heavy losses they incurred last year.

Wind-cheaters are the most sought-after items, serving multiple purpose. Labourers who visit the twin towns in search of work use it daily while commuting to and from their villages. Country-made khesies and blankets are out since wind cheaters are smarter and in vogue.

With the soaring demand, dealers have collected a large variety ranging from a mere Rs 30, up to Rs 300, to enable customers buy the products according to their budget. Besides, also in vogue and much in demand are jerseys, jackets, cardigans, sweaters, shawls and kids wear.

Even people from higher sections of society throng these areas to grab woollen check shirts, coats and corduroy pants. Bhupinderpal Singh Shera, a dealer from Ambala Cantonment, said their business was booming with army officers' wives and lower class people as their clients. ''The wives of Army officers make purchases for their domestic helpers. Some even buy woolens for wearing at home.'' Phari owners Neetu, Prem Bengali and Shiv Chander said the market was doing a business of Rs 2.5 to three lakh daily.

However, Shera said they had got no customers last year, since the temperature had not dipped to as low as it fallen had this year. This time, he said, with winters having set in on time, customers had been rushing to their shops in large numbers. ''The last year's stock is already out and we have fresh stock from Bombay coming in.'' Similar views were aired by other dealers who hoped to make up for the last year's losses.

The Tibetan woolen market on the railway road is getting popular by the day. Selling goods at moderate prices, they have middle class people visiting them in large numbers. Though they do not have new stock on their cart, people from rural areas and the working class never fail to make their purchases. Customers can get jackets priced at Rs 200 to 300.

Besides, those who wish to buy those unaffordable leather jackets can get them at a lower price here. A Tibetan dealer said they were doing a good business. While most articles are brought in from Tibet, many are purchased from Ludhiana hosiery, he said.

However, wool dealers, who did brisk business earlier, are now at the receiving end. With ready-made wear available at pocket-friendly prices, not many opt for knitting pullovers.

Trader Subhash Jain said for the last one decade, the fad for ready-made woolen garments, especially sweaters, had increased manifold, making the business of woolen thread for knitting house-made sweaters witness a decline.

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