Visakhapatnam

Start from the scratch

Shop owners at Rushikonda beach in the process of rebuilding after the Hudhud damage. photo: C.V.SUBRAHMANYAM

Shop owners at Rushikonda beach in the process of rebuilding after the Hudhud damage. photo: C.V.SUBRAHMANYAM  

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The severe cyclonic storm Hudhud had not spared even the petty businessmen on the beach. The shop owners, who have been doing business on the beach for over two decades, had seen many a cyclone, but nothing like this one.

Cyclone Hudhud appears to have affected every sector in Visakhapatnam. One among the many which have been impacted severely is the small and petty business in the tourism sector.

The City of Destiny is known for its beaches and the major attraction is the Rushikonda beach. The picturesque beach is dotted with small shops selling artefacts, especially made of shells, and small eatery outlets. And every shop bore the brunt of Hudhud’s fury.

In total, there are 23 shops, made of wood, selling fancy items and artefacts, and all were either blown away by the wind that peaked over 240 kmph or washed away by the sea surge during the landfall of the cyclone.

“Each shop had a stock worth of about Rs. 60,000, and we lost every bit of it,” says Dasu, who owns a shop.

The shop owners, who have been doing business on the beach for over two decades, had seen many a cyclone, but nothing like this one.

“In anticipation, the previous day (October 11) we secured our shops with ropes. But when we came back the next day, everything was either blown or washed away. A few pieces of wood are all that remained,” says Sudheer, another shop owner.

What is further hurting them is rebuilding from the scratch. “We have to rebuild the shack and buy the material, which would cost us about Rs. 50,000. For small businessmen like us losing over Rs. 1 lakh overnight is a big jolt,” says Dasu.

Even the men and women, who sell tender coconuts, roasted maize and peanuts, are not spared.

G. Yerramma, who makes a living by selling roasted maize, says that her stock of maize worth Rs. 1,000 was washed away. Like her there are over 30 persons, and Rs. 1,000 is big money for them.

Moreover, it is not only what they have lost in the cyclone, but the rebuilding has been a slow process so far.

October onwards, the tourist season picks up. And so far the response is lukewarm and much below than the previous years.

The shop owners have sent a representation to the government to cover their losses, and aid is yet to come.



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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 9:25:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/start-from-the-scratch/article6580598.ece

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