Mumbai: Two days after the prominent religious destinations of the city decided to close their gates for devotees, the premises of Siddhi Vinayak and Mumba Devi temples have an aura of a ghost town.
Earlier, on Monday, the temples decided to close their portals for their devotees in order to avoid public gathering, as a precautionary measure against the dreaded novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
However this pro-active measure has troubled local businessmen operating within the proximity of these temples. From flower shops to sweet shops, each one of the store owners are suffering a daily loss of Rs 10,000.
Both the temples used to record a daily footfall of one lakh devotees everyday. “We have set up this store and have been running it for more than twenty years now. This is the most dry season we have ever seen,” said Pankaj Kadam, owner of a sweet shop across SK Bole marg, Prabhadevi.
Adjoining the temple premises, there are as many as 100 micro-businessmen, who trade in flowers, sweets and religious commodities. Since the temples had announced closure on Monday, they stated not a single item has been sold from their stores.
“We find this situation worse than demonetisation,” said Ayush Jadhav, a flower shop owner. Jadhav stated that since last Friday, their business declined as the footfall of devotees visiting the temples came down.
Being daily vendors, they have to invest a significant amount at the start of every month to procure the raw materials. As a result, if they are unable to sell at least half of their products in a month, they will be unable to recover the invested money.
“As there is no sale, there is no question of restocking,” said Asif Shaikh, another ancillary businessman.