The closure of MG Road to carry out Kochi Metro work for six months is likely to hit the business in the region. Even though the decision has not been finalised the business community believes that trade will nosedive as it would cause parking problems and other inconvenience for customers.
The daily business volume in about 250 shops on the MG Road stretch is in the range of `60 lakh to `1 crore. Traders point out that MG Road has already lost its charm to shopping malls and the business had shifted to Edappally and Palarivattom regions. Though the Kochi Metro Rail work is expected to start only after Onam, the Metro agency will carry out the preparatory work during the weekends till September on MG Road.
K G Venugopal, president, Ernakulam Merchants Association, said that the authorities are of the opinion that Kochi Metro work will not affect the traders but in reality, it would be different. “The majority of the business on MG Road has shifted to malls and the bypass. When the work commences, parking will become a hurdle which will not be in favour of traders. In Edappally, where the metro work is in progress, the business has been hit because of space constraints,” he said.
He also said that textile and jewellery shops on MG Road would not be much affected by the arrangement as they provide sufficient parking space. Ramesh S Pai, managing partner, A Geeri Pai Jewellers, said that small traders on the road would be affected more. “Even a small shop on MG Road fetches a daily business of around `20,000. When metro work progresses the business will be affected and If the road is closed for six months the trader will find it difficult to regain the business,” he said.
Divakar Prabhu, the owner of a shop on MG Road, said that retail activity along the road will be stalled owing to the commencement of metro work. “Branded shops on MG Road had experienced a fall of 60 percent in business when various malls in the city started functioning. The crisis will be severe once the metro work starts on the stretch. The inconvenience will affect all sections of traders,” he said.