The Covid 19 pandemic has severely impacted the business at the local level as around 400 shops alone closed in Kharghar node, claimed local businessmen associations. These shops were performing well and doing good business before the lockdown was imposed in March. However, soon after the state government eased the lockdown, shops starting shutting down due to lack of business.
Ambalal Patel, president of Vyapari Association of Kharghar and Taloja said that many shop owners returned to their home town, leaving their inventory and stocks in the closed shops. “Many shop owners failed to pay rent for the last four months and decided to return to their native villages. They left their stock in the closed shops,” said Patel.
According to the association, there are around 5000 shops in Kharghar and Taloja area, and 400 of them have already closed, and many more on the verge of shutting down as there is hardly any business. “Hotels, electronic and stationery shops are the most affected due to Covid 19,” said Patel.
Guru Thakur, president of Mahalaxmi Welfare Association, another businessmen association said that there are around 700 shops in sector 19 and 20 of Kharghar and around 150 of them closed during the lockdown. “There are hardly buyers in the market. People are buying only essential items like grocery and medicines,” said Thakur.
There is a similar tale from other developing nodes in Navi Mumbai. Ulwe, Karanajde including Panvel are facing similar situations. Prashant Thakur, BJP MLA had raised this issue several times and demanded the the local body allow shops to open as business is dying due to the continuous lockdown.
Rajesh Shrivastava, president of SEWA Foundation, an NGO that works for the welfare of common people said that the business in hotels is down by 60 to 70% due to Covid-19. “The state government has allowed hotels to operate with certain restrictions. But there are hardly customers at the hotels,” said Shrivastava. He added that most of the hotels are dependent on online orders which have come down drastically as people are avoiding eating outside food. Shrivastava who also runs Desi Taste, a restaurant popularly known for Bihari foods like Litti and Chokha and Rohu fish curry is getting hardly 20 to 30% business of what it was getting prior to the lockdown.
Small shops or roadside vendors are the worst affected as they were rely on walk-in customers. “Shops running at a small budget do not have a home delivery facility and they are almost on the verge of closure,” added Shrivastava.