Jewellery showrooms, textiles and even fitness centres in Visakhapatnam have reported a drop in their business by 40 to 50 per cent

The Samaikhyandhra agitation, which has been continuing for over three weeks, has adversely affected almost all sectors of trade and all sections of people.

The flow of cash has stopped and ending the stalemate quickly is essential, according to the industry.

Gold jewellery showrooms, textiles and even fitness centres have reported a drop in their business by 40 to 50 per cent due to the continuing strike and the lack of public transport, which was affecting mobility.

All-round dip in sales

The auspicious month of Sravanam, which began two weeks ago, and the beginning of the marriage season is the time for Telugus to buy gold and clothes. Coming as it did a little ahead of Sravanam, the agitation and the frequent bandhs have caused a dip in the sales of almost all sectors.

This is also the time for the trade to go all out on an ad-spend to attract customers.

The returns during the last few weeks hardly match the amount spent on advertisement campaigns and other promotions, lament traders. Shoppers are postponing their purchases in view of the uncertainty over the opening of showrooms, agitations and holding up of traffic, lack of public transport and the prospect of getting caught in traffic jams.

Shadow on car sales

“The automobile sector, which makes an additional 20 to 30 per cent business during Sravanam, has seen a drop in regular sales also. We normally sell around 450 cars during this month but going by the present situation, we may close at around 325 cars this month,” says the CEO of Varun Maruti S.V. Bhaskar Raju.

“Our stores had to be closed for four days during the bandh. Our maximum sales are during the Sravanam – Diwali festival period and the strike has hit us badly in the beginning itself. The dollar impact has led to the prices of mobile handsets going up steeply and the strike is a further blow to the industry,” says the MD of Cell Point Mohan Prasad.

Traffic problems

“Today (Wednesday) all our employees have been delayed by half-an-hour or more due to the traffic disruptions. I received over 50 calls from customers asking if we are open,” says Raja of MVS Jewel Park.

“The on and off closure during the past few weeks and absenteeism of our employees who come from distant places like Vizianagaram, Srikakulam, Madhurawada and Gopalapatnam has added to our woes.

While we did business of around Rs.80 lakh during August last year, this year we haven’t even made a quarter of that amount,” says the N. Venkateswara Rao, manager of Talwarkars, a fitness centre.

“Lack of transport is affecting the movement of goods from outside the State. There is a drop of about 40 per cent in our sales,” says the MD of CMR Group M.V. Ramana Rao.