Business in Coimbatore has taken a beating in the aftermath of the October 23 car blast in which a 25-year-old youth behind the wheel was charred to death and six of his accomplices arrested.
Coimbatore is one of the bustling towns of Tamil Nadu with a good commercial footfall. However, the heavy police presence and media reports of Coimbatore being under the scanner, has impacted the business.
Many businessmen from Kerala and other parts of Tamil Nadu who used to frequent Coimbatore for purchases have cancelled their trips. It may be noted that Coimbatore faced the same issue in 1998 after the February 14, 1998, serial bomb blasts which killed 56 people and left over 200 injured.
Muthuswamy Swaminathan, a trader in textiles while speaking to IANS said, ” We are traditionally traders of dress materials, including readymade garments, which we procure from adjacent factories in Tiruppur. Several traders from Kerala and Tamil Nadu used to frequent my shop as well as other shops in Coimbatore. However, after the October 23 blast and the media reports, there is a clear drop in my business. I can vouch that we have lost around 50 per cent of the business.”
He said that the situation is similar to that of the post-1998 serial blasts in Coimbatore and that if a proper campaign against it is not undertaken, it would lead to Coimbatore getting relegated from the business map of the country.
Other than big business, small wayside stalls near the Sangameshwar temple where the blast occurred on October 23 have also been affected heavily.
Sukanya Devi, who runs a wayside tea stall near the temple, told IANS, “I am a wayside tea stall vendor and have been in the business for the past thirty years. On a daily basis, I earned around 600 to 700 rupees but after the blast, everything has come down and now I hardly get 200 rupees a day. There are no people on the road even during day time following these restrictions after the blast, I don’t know how I will survive.”
Rashid Abdulla, a way side cloth trader while speaking to IANS said, “I was expecting a good business during Diwali and on the eve of the festival this bomb blast occurred shattering my expectations.”
With the Coimbatore car blast creating havoc among the traders and wayside business people, the police and the district administration have to create a major awareness drive to bring people to the streets and to retrieve the economy of Coimbatore.