Electronic Goods At Chandni Market

Team Chronicle

As you stroll past Chandni Chowk Market from the Lenin Sarani end, walking on the pavement seems like an impossible task because of the scores of hawkers squatting on the sidewalks busy selling their wares. From fruit sellers to those household items, you will find almost everything here. But as you venture further inside the Chandni Chowk lane, the market gradually transforms in look, feel and products sold here. Welcome to the Mecca of electronic goods in Calcutta.

From television sets to music systems and from desktops to laptops – this is undoubtedly the largest market of electronic goods in the city. Mobile phones and various phone accessories like back covers, screen guards are other related items comprise the largest share of the pie. So let’s explore and discover what Chandni Chowk has to offer.

The Market
The best way to access this market is from Lenin Sarani. Enter the Chandni Chowk lane and walk a little further inside and you will be swamped by sellers of mobile phone covers and other phone accessories, running small make-shift shops on the pavements.

The large shops are stacked with various items, hardly leaving any space for the customers to move around. It is hard to believe that such a large variety of products can be accommodated in such a small space. However, they are hardly visible from the outside because of the hawkers on the pavements. From projectors, CCTV, photography cameras, mobile phones and speakers to pen drives, memory cards, video games and Bluetooth headsets, you will find everything in this market. A left turn from the Chandni Chowk Street takes you to the Biplabi Anukul Chandra Street which has scores of shops selling computer components, assembled desktops and laptops.

Among the various accessories of mobile phones that are on sale, back covers are most in demand and available in every shape, size and colour. Ear phones come next. Cheaper duplicates of Ubon ear phones are available at most shops, selling like hot cakes. Look out for a couple of amplifier sellers on the left pavements in the interiors of Chandni lane. Fateh, a local brand, which comes without any warranty is the cheapest amplifiers available here.

The Chandni electronics market is also known for selling products which are no longer manufactured by the respective brands. For example Nokia handsets are amongst the most popular products sold in these shops. Nokia 1100, 1110, 206 and 225 are some of the products which are still available with these sellers on the pavements. The mobile phones are kept neatly wrapped in cellophane and put on display on small tables.

“Most of these models have been long discontinued by the company but we get them from various sources. They are sold as end of stock sales and are brand new,” said Majid, one of the few sellers who specialise in outdated phones. Ask him about warranty and pat comes an angry reply– “There is no warranty. You can use this for 10-15 years, or it may go out of order even within a day.”

Prices are low, but you also have to haggle a lot with those selling on the pavements. Even the larger shops offer hefty discounts. “It is difficult to state the exact percentage of discounts we offer for our products as it differs according to brands and models. While on one hand there can be a discount of 10% on a specific product from a particular brand, for another product, the discount can go up to 60%. Discounts are not uniform here. But almost nothing is sold at MRP because of the stiff competition we have in the market. And our rates are always lower than the online rates,” said Kushal Kriplani, salesman at Amber Tele Shoppe Pvt. Ltd. on Chandni Chowk Street.

An interesting find here is a shop at 4 Biplabi Anukul Chandra Street that provides laptops and desktops on rent. “You can hire a desktop for a minimum duration of six months. Laptops can be hired on a per month basis. Even if you need to hire a laptop for only a day or two, that too is possible,” said Kailash Kumar of Altech store.

Most shops here give you a rough estimate of assembled desktops based on your specifications in a matter of seconds. “We source the products directly from company’s dealers. Thus we are able to offer good discounts on MRP. A lot of resellers purchase from us, so we keep that in mind while fixing the prices,” said Kumar.

Most of the sellers source their products from Green Plaza and IPlaza markets in Khidderpore, who in turn purchase all their products directly from China. “The products are mostly sourced from China. Our suppliers in Fancy Market in Khidderpore go to China every fortnight to bring these products. We buy it directly from them,” said Jamil, a shop owner. While some of the other store owners at Chandni Chowk admit having travelled to China themselves to purchase electronic items and sold those at this market at a premium price.

But not all items sold at Chandni Chowk are sourced from China via the Khidderpore route. A substantial number of items – such as amplifiers and card readers are produced locally in various parts of the city, including Chandni itself and sold in this market.

At the end of this lane, upon turning left, you will arrive at the E-Mall – the city’s only IT mall where several major electronic brands have opened their own stores to offer the best prices and services. If you compare the rates offered by a store in E-mall with a store in Chandni Chowk, for assembled desktops, the prices may vary between INR 1000-2000 with some shops offering better deals than others in both markets.

But a note of caution for those planning to buy from Chandni Market; a lot of products sold on the pavements are dubious and cheap duplicates of original products. Hence, it is advisable to go for products for which you can get an original invoice with warranty. It is only the large, established shops which will furnish you invoice or receipt for the products bought from them.

Next time when you are looking for best bargain for electronic items, head straight for Chandni Chowk market, but don’t forget to keep your guard up to ensure that you are not taken for a ride.