Metro construction a setback to shop owners - The New Indian Express

Metro construction a setback to shop owners

Published: 07th October 2013 10:31 AM

Last Updated: 07th October 2013 10:31 AM

A few retailers on MG Road are an unhappy lot. Around 300 shop owners on the Madhava Pharmacy - Jos junction stretch on MG Road are witnessing the crisis of their lifetime, owing to the Kochi Metro Rail construction here. The shops fetched a business volume to the tune of Rs 350 to Rs 400 crore a year. The daily business volume in the textile and jewellery shops on the stretch was in the range of Rs 60 lakh to Rs 1 crore. According to traders, the sectors have been hit and business is down by more than 50 per cent now. Of the total business volume on the entire stretch 50 to 60 per cent is contributed by textile shops, that have witnessed a slump of about 65 per cent in sales for  various reasons. The area houses around 25 small and big jewellery shops with a daily business volume of around Rs 30 lakh. They say the business has declined by over 50 per cent owing to the Metro Rail construction work and the resultant traffic restrictions.

 K G Venugopal, president, Ernakulam Merchants Association, said that though the authorities say the work would not affect the traders, in reality, it is different. “The majority of the business on MG Road has shifted to malls and the Bypass. As the Metro work is on, parking will be a hindrance. In Edappally, where the metro work is in progress, the business has been hit because of space constraints,” he said.

Kerala Merchants Union president Mohammed Ashraf said the traders in the city are witnessing difficult times for various reasons.

Those running exclusive outlets of leading brands on MG Road have begun to relocate.

“We are left with no other option than to close down or relocate. We have zeroed in on a suitable place in a shopping mall in the city so as to avoid packing off at the eleventh hour,” said Maijo Ignatious, who runs a leading footwear brand showroom near Padma junction. “I just opened the shop in March. Shifting to another location after a few months will be financial burden. But once the construction activities are in full swing, we’re afraid we may not have customers,” he said.

Ramesh S Pai, managing partner, A Geeri Pai Jewellers, said they are worried as there is no clarity about Kochi Metro Rail construction on MG Road. “Almost all major brands exist on MG Road. Earlier, the average daily business of the jewellers was in the 500gm to 1,000 gm range. But recently it went below 500g. After textiles, jewellery is the major business on the stretch. With economic slowdown prevailing in the state, the demand gone down,” he said.

Rajeesh Gopalan, who works with another brand outlet on MG Road, said it was the right time to book spaces or relocate to shopping malls under construction on MG Road. “We have booked a space in a mall on the road and the management of an apparel showroom nearby has also decided to relocate there,” Rajeesh said.

He added that the construction work would be a setback for shops that do not have enough frontage.

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