More than 85 per cent of textile traders in Surat kept their shops opened for the whole day on Labh Pacham, on Thursday, to meet the customer demand ahead of the Pongal festival.

Pongal, which falls on January 14, is one of the major festivals in the southern states, and the textile traders of Surat have started supplying sarees and dress materials to firms in Andhra Pradesh and other southern states.

The textile traders used to keep their shops open only for a couple of hours on the day of Labh Pacham. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the labourers who used to leave to their native places during Diwali vacations, have stayed back in Surat. So the textile traders have kept their shops open for the whole day.

The traders said that the decision was taken to compensate the loss due to the pandemic too.

Narendra Saboo, president of Surat Mercantile Association, a newly-formed body of textile traders, said, “On Labh Pacham, we used to open shops for only two hours for ‘mahurat’, to do puja of Lord Ganesh and Goddess Laxmi. The reason is that during the Diwali festival, most of the workers go to their native places.

This time, the labourers already had been to their native places after the easing of lockdown curbs and had returned. So to meet the pending orders, we will keep the shops open for the whole day.”

Surat has around 65,000 textile trading shops in 170 textile trading markets with 5 lakh workers. The average daily turnover for the textile business in Surat is around Rs 100 crore and the annual turnover is around Rs 25,000 crore. The Pongal festival sales adds Rs 1,000 crore more to the sales.

Surat Textile Goods Transport Association president Yuvraj Deshle said, “This time, we have started taking orders from traders from the day of Labh Pacham onwards. Usually, around 200 trucks loaded with textile parcels leave Surat to different destination across the country. Today around 50 trucks have left Surat to different destinations.”