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China Ban, School Opening Create Tiffin Box Scarcity | Kolkata News - Energy And Water Development Corp

China Ban, School Opening Create Tiffin Box Scarcity | Kolkata News


Kolkata: Over the weekend Reshmi Gaurisaria, a New Town resident, visited several local markets and malls but could not get a water bottle and lunch box of good quality for her son’s first day in school on Monday as store racks had emptied out after schools reopened last week.
Debmalya Ghosh’s son wanted a pencil box with a particular toon character but the techie couldn’t find a decent one even after visiting several stationery stores in central Kolkata.
A sudden spike in demand for back-to-school essentials like water bottles, lunch boxes, pencil boxes and other stationery items following resumption of physical classes coupled with supply bottlenecks of these goods from China have resulted in an unprecedented shortage in the market. The demand has also been fuelled by the closure of canteens and schools asking parents to ensure children bring their own water bottles and lunch boxes.
Bottles, lunch boxes and pencil boxes have undergone a metamorphosis in recent years from cheap plastic ones to food-grade plastic containers, most with insulated steel interiors. Colourful and glossy on the outside and printed with different toon characters, these are mainly imported. China meets more than 50% of the demand for these items.
“The plain plastic ones are available in shops, but they are not hygienic,” said Rajat Gupta, among the growing breed of parents who do not want to buy plastic bottles and lunch boxes for their children for health and environmental reasons.
“Water bottles and lunch boxes are essential for schoolkids but on Sunday I discovered that almost all the good ones have been sold out. The leftovers are of poor quality which I don’t want to give to my child,” said Reshmi, who was scouting in the New Market on Monday.
Even the plain stainless-steel ones have flown off the shelves as demand for these is higher because these are also used by college students and office goers.
“For the past one week business has been very good with several parents scrambling to buy water bottles and lunch boxes,” said Girish Vasandani, owner of Shamumall in Bagree Market.
Prior to the pandemic, sales of these items would be high throughout the year. “The demand would be fuelled by the excitement over a new toon character or a new design. An average retailer would sell 10-12 pieces a day but this time it has more than doubled,” said Md Arshad Sarkar, a distributor of lunch and pencil boxes in central Kolkata.
Many parents are also buying more than one bottle and lunch box. “Many schools have given instructions that every child must carry a water bottle and lunch box as canteens are not open. So, several parents are buying an extra set,” said Abhishek Laha of The Bengal Store in Salt Lake.





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