Noida: Noida is a place where people welcome exhibitions. Some recent exhibitions such as the Hunar Haat and Saras Aajeevika mela were colourful events that saw impressive footfall. However, the ongoing Navratri sale at the Noida Haat sector 33A presents a different picture. A visit here shows vast barren grounds and lines of vacant shops. A few outlets that are operating do not have any customers. The main reason for this sorry state of affairs is the ongoing heatwave and the presence of SurajKund Mela in Faridabad.
Keeping the Navratri in mind 'Navratri Sale' was organised in the Noida Haat by the ITE group, supporting the vocal for local and Make in India campaign, from March 29, 2022, to April 7, 2022, at sector 33 A, Noida.
Also read | Must visit stalls at Surajkund Mela 2022
The circular published in newspapers mentioned various textile and hand-embroidered crafts, handlooms, block printed, appliqué work, natural dyed textile, ceramics, metal crafts, Jute work and glasswork, home decor items, carpets, handicrafts, jewellery, and food stalls planned for the mela.
However, this time, nothing could materialize. No one was seen in the Noida Haat. Neither the aforesaid stalls nor the shopkeepers. The unbearable heatwave has stopped the people from reaching this colourful Noida Haat.
The site of the mela was nothing short of a ghost town. A few shops were open but not a single person was there not even the shopkeepers. The few craftsmen that we found shared their misery with us.
An old lady was sleeping near the shops dealing in bedsheets. Looking at us, the entire family got happy thinking a customer had finally arrived. Rafikan from Bagpat (U. P.) says, “We came here with high hopes, thinking that Noida people will love our bedsheets but this dull atmosphere has broken us. We brought such a huge collection with us but only 3-4 bedsheets have sold yet. It is because of the Surajkund Mela. It would be very difficult to bear this loss."
We saw a beautifully decorated stall of Bengali handcrafts. They had everything from Kanta work sarees, to suit materials. Like many others, this too was abandoned. The owner emerged after some time.
Sanjay Jain, owner of Bengali Dress and Jewellery was again happy to see us but his hopes dampened when he realized we were journalists. Sanjay says, “ There is simply no joy in being here this time. It is just a big failure. It has been 15 days of hoping that someone will come, people will buy our articles but I guess we are holding on to false hope."
He continues, “I brought the finest collection of jewellery, bangles, Clothing, Kanta Work Sarees, Suits, Dress Materials, all are just getting fade in this dust and heat. All the crowd has gone to the Surajkund Mela. Maybe on April 4 when the Surajkund mela is over, some people may come here. Some shopkeepers have also informed me that they would set up their stalls after April 04 as they are busy at SurajKund until then."
Rajendra Singh, the old security guard was sitting wet in sweat and was drinking water. The scorching heat had made him miserable, he says, “ I am doing my duty, no matter if anyone is coming or not. I have to be here, alert and cautious. Barely one or two people come here during the evenings. I have never seen such a short footfall here."