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COVID-19 in Mumbai: Maximum City's once bustling shopping streets limp back into action

COVID-19 in Mumbai: Maximum City's once bustling shopping streets limp back into action

COVID-19 in Mumbai: Maximum City's once bustling shopping streets limp back into action
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By Shilpa Ranipeta  Jun 17, 2021 8:08 AM IST (Updated)

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Mumbai's once bustling shopping streets wear a deserted look even as its been two weeks since authorities started easing COVID-19 restrictions. Here's a look at the what's happening on Fashion Street, Colaba Causway, Hill Road and Linking Road

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It has been nearly two weeks since authorities gradually started easing COVID-19 restrictions in Mumbai. But once-bustling popular shopping streets of the Maximum City continued to wear a deserted look as people feared contracting the virus. Moreover, many vendors too decided to stay away and those who setup their stalls, hardly witnessed any footfall. (Image: Reuters)

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Shopping Streets like Linking Road, Hill Road and Colaba Causeway are known for their crowds as shoppers throng these streets on all days of the week. But ever since they’ve opened post the second round of curbs, business for most of these vendors is down by 50-70 percent. (Image: Shilpa Ranipeta/CNBCTV18.com)

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Several stores and stalls are yet to open in these streets. While some vendors say many are yet to return to the city to open shop again, many have given up their stalls amid financial distress and inability to bear fixed expenses. (Image: Shilpa Ranipeta/CNBCTV18.com)

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Adbul Rahman Shikilkar who is part of the committee of about 300 shops in Linking Road says that at least 40 shops have been emptied out. While some left because they couldn’t bear the rent, some left because they had no money to clear dues of the suppliers. Shikilkar says that many have taken up other jobs like delivering for Swiggy/Zomato or riding autorikshaws. (Image: Shilpa Ranipeta/CNBCTV18.com)

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And if dealing with low business wasn't bad enough, retailers are having to deal with damaged stock. Whatever was stored over the past few months in anticipation of opening up has gotten spoilt due to fungus. Some vendors have incurred losses running into lakhs of rupees. (Image: Shilpa Ranipeta/CNBCTV18.com)

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Supply coming from manufacturers too, is running low as they were forced to stay shut due to localised lockdowns in their states. As a result, they’re still trying to sell off their existing inventory. But customers too are now asking for fresh stock. Sellers say that even if they’re able to find supply, they do not have money to buy fresh stock after months of zero revenue. (Image: Shilpa Ranipeta/CNBCTV18.com)

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The street-side vendors say they have noticed that customers too are unwilling to shell out much money as an aftermath of the pandemic. As a result, they’re now slashing prices and selling products at massive discounts to get rid of existing inventory. (Image: Shilpa Ranipeta/CNBCTV18.com)

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At Colaba Causeway, footpath repair is also underway, hindering those who returned to set up shop as well. Most of the stores that sold antiques, jewelry continue to remain shut. The few stores that have managed to open on this popular street say customers aren’t coming as they did before, but are pinning hopes on local trains opening up for crowds to start trickling in. (Image: Shilpa Ranipeta/CNBCTV18.com)

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Last year, the Union govt had launched a scheme for street vendors offering micro-loans of up to Rs 10,000. This year, the Maharashtra govt announced Rs 1,500 as relief for each street vendor. But Vendors at these streets say that very few availed the loan facility, and many didn’t qualify since they’re classified as shops and not street vendors. A vendor in Santacruz who availed the loan last year says that with the second lockdown, he is now struggling to pay it back as there has been no income for a few months now. (Image: Shilpa Ranipeta/CNBCTV18.com)

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Same has been the case with the relief announced by the state govt. Vendors at Hill Road said they received the relief, but a one-time relief amount of Rs 1,500 barely sufficed. Many at Linking Road and Colaba Causeway said they didn’t qualify for this as well as they are classified as shops. (Image: Shilpa Ranipeta/CNBCTV18.com)

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Stores at these shopping streets are now counting on easing of weekend restrictions and resumption of the local trains for more people to start coming. While some say that the future continues to remain uncertain and are worried about a second lockdown, many are optimistic about easing of restrictions. They are hoping that as Mumbai opens up, people return to shop from them and the hustle and bustle returns to Mumbai’s shopping streets. (Image: Shilpa Ranipeta/CNBCTV18.com)

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