Covid-19 lockdown deals sweet shops a blow on Ram Temple foundation day

Topics Coronavirus | Ayodhya

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel and RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat take part in 'Bhoomi Pujan' for Ram Temple, at Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya.

The complete lockdown in West Bengal on Wednesday which coincided with the laying of the foundation for the Ram Temple at Ayodhya has dealt a blow to its sweet shops they were forced to cancel orders and remain closed in keeping with the protocol.

Felu Modak, a famed sweet shop at Rishra in neighbouring Hooghly district, had been ordered to prepare a special 'sandesh', a typical Bengali milk-based delicacy, but had to cancel it at the last minute as the government notification on bi-weekly lockdown dates did not give any relaxation for August 5.

"We had received orders to make a variety of sweets to be themed on the Ram Temple bhoomi pujan. The clients were expecting that the lockdown date will be changed by the government. When it became clear that this is not going to happen, they cancelled the order," Amitabha Dey, one of the owners of the decades-old shop, told PTI.

He said the shop has always innovated popular sweets on social and religious occasions, sporting events like FIFA World Cup or even during political occasions as per the orders of the customers.


"We had also prepared sweets which were taken to Delhi for Vajpayeeji (former prime minister) and Advaniji (veteran BJP leader). We were told that they had liked the sweets," he said proudly.

The situation is different this time as people are scared and are staring at great economic loss due to the lockdown and the raging coronavirus pandemic, he said.

The in-charge of an outlet of Bhikharam Chandmal, a known brand which sells north Indian variety of sweets, said the lockdown has affected the delivery of sweets to celebrate the Ram Temple foundation.

"On Tuesday around 20 people bought large ladoos and peras from our outlet. The quantity could be anywhere from 600-800 grams to eight kg for a buyer. But with the shop closed and restrictions imposed on people's movements on Wednesday due to the lcokdown, over the counter sale is not possible," he said.

The possibility of delivery to customers who order online is almost nil due to the strict patrolling by the police during the lockdown, he added.

Dhiman Das, the owners of the famed K C Das chain of sweet shops struck a different note. "We don't prepare sweets themed on such religious events," he said.

It is on the occasion of popular Bengali festivals like Bijoya Dashami, Bhai Phonta (brothers' day) and Poila Baisakh (Bengali new year's day) that new additions are made to the rich repertoire of sweets immortalised by the chain's founder Nabin Chandra Das.


"But these events are engrained in the cultural heritage of Bengal for centuries. Let's see if the Ram Temple is embraced in the same way by the people of Bengal in the coming years," he said but conceded that there was possibility of getting bulk orders to celebrate the bhoomi pujan had the shop been allowed to open during the day.

"The bi-weekly lockdown is affecting all sweet shops in the state. Things had improved a little in June. Large quantities of milk are being wasted now, but we don't have any choice," he said.

Sandip Sen of Sen Mahasay, yet another popular sweet shop, said it does not believe in "stunts like sweets themed on Ayodhya and Ram temple."

0ne or two sweet shops may have resorted to such "gimmicks," Sen, one of the office bearers of Paschim Banga Mistanna Byabosayee Samity, said.

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