Power crisis upsets West Kochi traders
By Pramod Thomas - KOCHI
01st December 2012 09:19 AM
After the recently imposed power restrictions, the small traders in West Kochi region are a worried lot. Since the Fort Kochi and Mattanchery regions are a home to many trading activities, especially in the retail and tourism sectors, the business is reportedly down by at least 20-25 per cent.
Though at the initial stage the traders tried hard to adapt to the situation later with the overall slowdown in the economy they felt the pinch.
K N Marzook, chairman of Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the small traders in the state are on the verge of extinction with the power tariff hike and restrictions on power usage.
“The operating cost has increased by more than 15 per cent after the recently imposed power restrictions. The situation now is that the business is declining and the cost escalating. This is dangerous for the traders in West Kochi since they mostly engage in small-scale business,” he said.
In his opinion, the rising living cost forces the common man to remain at home rather than go out and shop. S Ramakrishnan, secretary of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that earlier the Kerala State Electricity Board used to inform the traders about the unexpected load-shedding in the region but now they are not doing it.
“We have informed the KSEB authorities about this but nothing favourable has happened so far. Unexpected load shedding is a serious threat to small traders since majority of them are not equipped to tackle the situation,” he said.
Ramakrishnan said the KSEB’s plan to lay underground cables in the region also remains a non-starter even after assurance by the Power Minister himself.
Echoing the same opinion, K P Ramachandran Nair, state president of Kerala State Small Industries Association, said that it is high time the government intervened to solve the power crisis.
“There are lakhs of traders in every nook and cranny of the state. The government now is taking a stand against the very survival of traders which is a matter of great concern. Power tariff hike and restrictions on power usage were like a double whammy for them. The government should chalk out some plans which will help traders to overcome the crisis,” he said.
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