Lahoris flock to DHA for Eid shopping

         *  Stall owner says people prefer DHA Eid stalls because they are in open spaces
* Another stall owner says non-DHA residents increasingly interested in shopping in DHA
* DHA spokesman says administration providing security to stalls

By Afnan Khan

LAHORE: With the end of Ramazan in sight, several people in the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) have set up Eid stalls to sell bangles, artificial jewellery, henna, clothes and other products related to the festivities.

Attracting people from across the city, the commercial markets in sectors Y, G and H of the DHA have been overtaken by Eid shoppers, especially women who are flocking to the stalls for the various different kinds of products available at them. The DHA stalls, in fact, appear to be altering the traditional Lahori Eid shopping habits, which have mostly centred in the Liberty Market, Gulberg and Cantonment areas. However, with the rise of the cheap Eid stalls at the DHA markets, people of the surrounding areas prefer to shop at them as they provide a suitable alternative to the costly articles being sold at most of the stores situated in the DHA commercial markets. A stall owner, Ali Imran, told Daily Times that he had set up a bangle and henna stall at the Sector-Y market because there was great demand for it. He said that both men and women were patronising the stalls established during the last 10 days of Ramazan. “Most of the women are interested in having beautiful designs of henna applied on their hands and feet and some of the stall owners have hired experts to apply different designs on our customers,” he added.

Open area: Imran said that people also preferred the Eid stalls in DHA over those in Liberty, Model Town and Gulberg because they had the same variety of products but were in a more open area as compared to the congested areas in the other commercial markets of the city.

Muhammad Ramazan, a stall owner in the Sector-G commercial market, said that he had established his stall in the last two weeks of Ramazan, adding that several people were visiting it to purchase traditional jewellery and other items every day.

“It is a very positive thing for DHA stall owners that a lot of people are visiting them every day, as it has negated a stereotype that most DHA residents prefer to ignore desi products as compared to the less affluent residents of the city in other areas,” he said. He said that it was a great move by the DHA authorities that they were helping the stall owners earn a profit by not charging them any fee for setting up the stalls.

Outside interest: Ramazan said that he believed that the DHA markets would attract the clientele that used to visit Liberty, Anarkali and other famous Eid shopping points, especially on chand raat, as non-DHA residents were very interested in shopping in the area. “These smaller stalls provide the less affluent citizens with an opportunity to buy various items at cheaper prices while helping the small businessman earn some profit,” he added.

Security: DHA spokesman Tajamul Hussain told Daily Times that the DHA administration had not only decided to provide free space to stall owners to set up their small shops in the area during the pre-Eid season, but had also ensured them with proper security to stop any untoward incidents. He said that the DHA markets were being frequented by an increasing number of customers, especially during festivals like Eid. The locality is also becoming a hub of cultural activity, he added.

Hussain also said that the society’s administration would increase the security around the stalls and commercial markets help the families visiting the area shop for Eid.

     Source: Daily Times, 1/10/2008

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