Tibetan woollen garment sellers leave town for hill resorts

Berhampur: With the winter over, Tibetan woollen garment sellers have started leaving this sea resort for Ooty and Darjeeling to cater to the summer tourists visiting the hills.

Uprooted from their homeland in Tibet in 1964 and settled in Chandragiri area in Odisha's Gajapati district, selling of woollen garments is the lifeline for these Tibetan refugees.

"There has been a slump in our overall business over the years though this year we managed to sell all our stock. In the 1980s we used to set up over 60 stalls and many more families were involved in this business. But their number has kept reducing," said Tsering Phuntsok, a shop keeper.

Earlier, the Tibet woollen garment sellers used to sell their wares on the roadside but since 1986 they set up a seasonal market in the town.

The stock of winter wear is generally procured from Ludhiana in Punjab.

This year over 40 people set up stalls at the seasonal market since mid-November selling cardigans, sweaters, jackets, pullovers, stoles and shawls. The designs were almong the latest to catch the fancy of the youngsters.

Expressing happiness over the business this year, they said sales had recorded a big jump of up to 20 per cent as compared to previous year.

The sales had picked up between the last week of December to the first week of January due to the dip in temperature across the state, said Sangyal Dorjee, president of the Tibetan Woolen market.

"Almost all our stocks have been sold out here. We will order for fresh stocks before we move to Ooty and Darjeeling," he said, adding that they generally bought these winter wears from Ludhiana.

But like the others, he is not ready to state the turnover. "It's difficult to say the exact amount of revenue generated, as profit was different for different persons."