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Petty shop owners in Tirumala hit hard by Covid-19 outbreak
All businesses at the hill shrine remain closed in the last four months as the devotees are not coming forward for shopping
Tirupati: The petty shop owners are hit hard by the Covid-induced lockdown and business restrictions imposed in the pilgrim city. Until four months ago they are doing good business and spending money lavishly for personal needs.
Now, they are struggling to earn their daily bread. All of a sudden the fate of shop owners overturned in the form of Covid-19 outbreak. Due to spread of virus fear, devotees are not coming forward for shopping in Tirumala and all the businesses in the hill shrine remained closed in the last four months.
Though the government relaxed lockdown norms, the situation has not changed much. Before the Covid-19 outbreak, around 1,600 shops and 600 licenced hawkers used to do the business Rs 1-2 crore business per day and during Brahmotsavams it would touch up to Rs 4 crore. Now, they are not in position to pay even shops rents of Rs 3,000-5,000 to TTD.
Hardly 25 shops located nearby the temple are doing business. Now, they have not seen Rs 500 income per day after reopening of shops in Tirumala hills.
Though around 14,000 devotees are visiting Tirumala for having Srivari darshan, now no devotee is showing interest in shopping in the hill shrine.
A shop owner A Subramanyam, who invested Rs 5 lakh in business on hill shrine, used to earn Rs 10,000-15,000 per day before lockdown, now lost his business and investment of Rs 5 lakh too. In the line, few shop owners, who took money from private moneylenders at Rs 5-10 rate of interest, are facing hardship to repay their mounting debts.
Majority of shop owners are facing severe financial crisis and struggling for survival. After easing of lockdown, though business operations resumed in entire country, but here the situation is different and businesses were not resumed fully. In the meanwhile, TTD did not give any exemption on paying of shops rent and electricity charges during the lockdown for four months. The shop owners' welfare association has appealed to TTD authorities to give exemption at least for paying rents and electricity charges till business operations resume fully.