Saturday, November 21, 2009

Biz may not be majestic after all

Biz may not be majestic after all

The KSRTC bus terminus is a source of livelihood to many engaged in the hotel business

Shwetha S. Bangalore



Once the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd begins work on the underground station at the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus station at Majestic, it won't be commuters alone who will be inconvenienced. The terminus offers many engaged in the hotel business a livelihood. There are also shopkeepers here who anticipate that business will be hard-hit once Metro work begins.
Shop-owners in the area expressed their anxiety to this reporter. K Venkatesh, who works at Amar Boarding and Lodging, said, "We have been running this lodge for the past three decades. Our business is dependent entirely on the people who use the bus services here. We have nearly 100% occupancy everyday; there is a rush of passengers looking for rooms. But once the buses begin to ply from elsewhere, that will change. For the three years that the Metro work continues, we cannot fully anticipate our losses yet."
At India Lodge and Atithi Guest House, Razak Perla said, "The shifting of the Tamil Nadu-bound buses to Shantinagar has already adversely affected our business. We have nearly 30% less bookings now; in the last two months, the Kerala-bound buses have been departing from the Mysore Road satellite terminal. Our business took a beating by another 20% since then. Now if other buses too are shifted elsewhere, we just don't know what use it will be to still be here. Our business is entirely dependent on the travellers."
It is not only the owners of lodges who are a worried lot. There are nearly 80 small business people operating in the vicinity of the Majestic bus stand. The changes occurring at the KSRTC bus terminus are bound to affect them all: nearly 30 shops are earmarked for demolition, to make way for the Metro station, which will also take up a third of the area near the entrance of the terminus.
Dushyaanth Deshpande, a seller of bags for travellers, says, "KSRTC has rented this place to us. We pay a rent of Rs16,000 each month. Since the buses bound to Tamil Nadu and Kerala were moved elsewhere, our business has fallen by nearly 40%. We used to sell nearly 100 bags a day; there are days now when only about 30 bags are sold. We have been finding it hard even to pay the monthly rent. Once Metro work starts, we don't know if we will be able to sell even as many bags. There will be little profit in the trade."
Mohammed Ali Khan, a cloth merchant, said, "I have been in this business for 20 years. We moved here from Yeshwantpur, as there is such a large and moving population here. Once the Metro work begins, though, our shop here will be demolished. We will have no option but to move again. We are quite helpless in the matter, once the demolition happens, we will be forced to set up shop somewhere else and start anew."

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