Mumbai News

Mumbai: Shopkeepers too down shutters, return to villages – Times of India

The renewed exodus of migrants during lockdown 4 does not include only blue collar workers and unskilled labou…Read More

MUMBAI: The renewed exodus of migrants during lockdown 4 does not include only blue collar workers and unskilled labour. Moderately wealthy traders, restaurateurs and shop owners in the village have also rolled down shutters and gone home to their native states.
With labourers having left and losses mounting, the economics of staying back amid a repeatedly extended shutdown seemed unviable.
Narendra Bambwani, AAP Thane-Palghar regional committee member, was shocked to find that stores selling essential items were slowly downing shutters. “About 20% shops in Shantinagar in Mira Road where I live have closed down. The fact that they have gone towards the end of Lockdown 4 shows that they clearly do not see economic sense in keeping shops open for a few random customers,” added Bambwani.
Shops selling grocery, farsan, stationery and now even those running medical stores, largely Marwaris and Gujaratis are all going back to their villages where it is, they claim, safer. Many tenants asked for a refund of their rental deposit but when the owners refused to pay back the deposit, these tenants kept their goods inside and left to go home. They also stated that they would not pay the rent as they wanted to terminate the rental agreement, he said.
He is not the only one. Dilip Jain, a gold trader from Zaveri Bazaar left the city 15 days ago with his family to stay with his parents in Rajasthan. “My family and my brother’s wife and all the children decided it would be safer to stay at home with parents. With no work and the constant worry that we may catch an infection from anyone, we felt it would be good to get back to our village,” said Jain.
Businessman Vivek Shah of Ethnic Paper House, who has his factory and house in Daman, said it only made sense for him to get there. “We stay in a residential tower in Mumbai where you keep bumping into people in the park or lift. We as a family are better off in Daman,” said this Walkeshwar resident.
In the second week of May, the owner of Bombay Restaurant in Fort shut shop and left for Kerala in a lorry. The eatery has weathered the ups and downs of business before, but a third lockdown extension was hard to wait out in Mumbai.
In Sector 20 of Kharghar, four brothers who run a grocery store left the city for their native village perhaps to UP. Residents of Walkeshwar have had to cancel a family-owned provision store from their list of shopping venues after Lockdown 4 forced the patriarch to leave Mumbai.
Jagdish Singh Bhanuja, owner of Chembur’s Chamunda Store, left for Rajasthan in the wake of lockdown 4. “More than me, the boys who work in my shop were anxious. We all hail from the same village… So we all hired a vehicle and came to Rajasthan. The outbreak is worse in Mumbai. Our villages are peaceful.”