Shimla, October 9
Despite the festival season, there is hardly any bustle at the city’s famous Tibetan market.
Moved from its decades-old location under The Ridge to the new Ajivika Bhavan near the lift on Cart Road, the Tibetan Market is struggling to attract customers.
“You can see for yourself how the business is doing,” said Kalsang, a member of the Tibetan Market Association, pointing to the nearly deserted market.
“It’s festival season, but there are hardly any customers. We only make about 20% of what we did at the old site in a day. Sometimes some of us don’t even sell a single item in a day,” Kalsang said.
The Tibetan market was moved to Ajivika Bhavan, built at a cost of around Rs 10 crore by the MC, Shimla, around 3-4 months ago. In addition to 76 Tibetan traders, another 70 street vendors have been assigned shops in the complex. The MC plans to auction off the remaining 70 stores in the six-story shopping complex with 218 stores.
While the Tibetan market was moved to the complex, other vendors did not move there. “The Tibetan market has been moved to the middle floors of the complex, and the floors above and below us are unoccupied. It gives the impression that the building is unoccupied and people are not entering the complex,” Kalsang said.
“The authorities should force other sellers to start their business here as soon as possible and also auction the remaining stores. Once there is activity on the upper floors, people will flock to the complex and business will pick up,” he said.
Also, traders say there is a problem with the cleaning arrangements and the lighting of the complex. “We have to clean the floor in front of our stores ourselves. Also, the lights on the stairs outside the compound are not working properly and there is no light on the stairs at the Cart Road entrance,” said Tama, a shopkeeper. An ATM should be installed in the resort as the internet is quite slow there and it was difficult to pay online.
Additionally, shopkeepers complain that the elevators inside the complex have yet to be made functional. “Working elevators will attract more customers, especially those who cannot use the stairs. Also, people will start using it to reach Sabji Mandi from Cart Road. By using them, they can stop at the market,” Kalsang said.
It’s festival season, but there are hardly any customers. We only make about 20% of what we did at the old site in a day. — Kalsang, Trader