Maharashtra bandh: Loss of over Rs 7 bn as protests put brakes on business

Dalit groups protest during the Maharashtra bandh on Kanjurmarg Flyover at Gandhinagar junction, in Mumbai. Photo: Kamlesh Pednekar
Business houses in Maharashtra are counting their losses after a day-long bandh brought the state to a grinding halt on Wednesday.  

While revenue loss from the shutdown is pegged at over Rs 7 billion, the larger worry is that the incident will adversely impact travel and trade in the state. 

Buses and trains were halted and hotels and shops forced to down shutters, paralysing business activity around the state, in a bandh to protest the attack on the Dalit community in Pune district.

"We have lost nearly Rs 1 billion worth of business in the past two days in Mumbai. There have been cancellations and the business cycle has got disrupted," said Dilip Datwani, vice-president of Federation of Hotels and Restaurant Associations of India. The city has over 7,000 hotels and restaurants.

Malls, which attract around 25,000 footfalls a day, were deserted till evening. Cinema halls did not see much of a business impact as business is generally thin during weekdays. Further, there were no new movie releases.

However, small establishments suffered the most. "There are around 3.5 million trade licence holders in the state. Even if we assume Rs 2,000 loss for each of them, the total revenue loss due to the bandh is Rs 7 billion. This is a good season for retailers due to weddings and foreign tourist arrivals. It is the second negative incident after the Kamala Mills fire and trade and tourism in the city is bound to be affected," said Viren Shah, president of Federation of Retail Trade Welfare Association.

"Around 85 per cent of the costs for retailers are fixed in nature and a single-day business loss can wipe off 1.5 per cent of annual profit. Such bandhs do not help anyone," said Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO of Retailers Association of India. 

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