In tinselTown, landa bazaars continue to thrive

Islamabad – There is a perception that Islamabad is a city of the well-off, but there are also a growing number of capital residents that fall in the low and middle-income groups. Landa bazaars, some believe, have lost their appeal in the recent years. They in fact, continue to attract and cater to the needs of many Islooiites that may not be able to afford shopping at high-end stores.

There are three such major bazaars in the capital, Aabpara, Karachi Company, G-9, and H-9 Itwaar Bazaar.

There is almost everything of daily use, from makeup kits to crockery, sports’ items to electronic devices, toys to books, carpets to stationary, available in wide range in landa bazaars but warm clothes and shoes are the two main commodities being sold in these bazaars.

Sales at landa bazaars increase manifolds with advent of winter season. Landa bazaars always remained the best place of shopping for the poor, therefore; we often see lower-income classes in these bazaars, buying used clothes and shoes. However, now the things are getting changed. 

Now we can see even well-to-do families in these bazaars. This also shows price inflation and decrease in purchasing capacity of the people. Now, even families from the middle class cannot afford high prices of branded clothes and shoes.

Another major change in these bazaars is that they also have shot the prices up beyond the affordability of the poor, who used to buy second-hand warm clothes and used shoes from these shops.

“I came here to buy a used jacket for my office use but prices are surprisingly high. I thought the prices would be around Rs300 to Rs500 but they are demanding Rs600 to Rs1500 for used jackets,” said Siddique, a worker of a local private firm, at Abpara landa bazaar.

“We always purchased second-hand warm clothes and joggers for our family in winter season but for the last few years, prices at landa bazaars are normally out of our range. I came here with my children to buy clothes and shoes but still, we are searching the stalls with affordable prices,” said a woman shopper at H-9 Landa Bazaar.

“They can’t understand our problem and they are still demanding us to sale the clothes at the prices we had a decade ago. We are not purchasing at the same prices in which we used to purchase a few years ago. Heavy import duties and increased petroleum prices have made us unable to sell the commodities at old prices,” said Zameer, a vendor while complaining about the customers at Karachi Company, G-9 Landa Bazaar.

Many college and university students were also seen at landa bazaars, busy in shopping. “I always came here to find branded shoes. Today I am here with my classmates and we are hopeful that we will find some good deals,” said Faryal while searching for brands. “No, there is no concept of window shopping yet for landa bazaars,” Faryal responded to a question.

The landa bazaars are also available online now. “Online landa bazaar is a good initiative but we always prefer to shop here after seeing the things,” Ghazal, a university student, responded to a question about shopping from online landa bazaars.

– The writer is a freelance contributor

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