Jaipur blasts led to Rs.20 bn losses in turnover

May 16th, 2008 - 7:19 pm ICT by admin  

By Kavita Bajeli-Datt
Jaipur, May 16 (IANS) The two-day shutdown in the walled city areas, following the serial terror blasts in Jaipur that claimed 61 lives, has hit businesses hard, leading to an estimated loss of Rs.20 billion, the industry said Friday. “The bomb blasts brought not only utmost misery and devastation to people, but caused a loss of Rs.2,000 crore (Rs.20 billion) in turnover,” K.L. Jain, honorary secretary general of the Rajasthan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told IANS.

But he said the impact of the blasts would not affect the industry in the long run, though the after-effects would be felt by the hospitality and entertainment sector for at least three months.

Jain, who was playing cards with friends when he heard about the blasts and rushed to help the injured in hospital, said the subsequent shutdown of the walled city, which is the commercial hub of Jaipur, resulted in the losses.

Curfew was clamped on the walled city areas Wednesday, a day after nine bomb blasts ripped through the Rajasthan capital, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The walled city has 24 established markets, including for gems and jewellery, handicrafts, eatables and readymade garments. Jaipur’s contribution accounts for about 65 percent of the state’s annual export turnover of over Rs.150 billion, Jain said.

Refuting that the bomb blasts would have a ripple effect on investments, he said: “There is just a short-term impact. As life has returned to normalcy, I don’t think there would be any problem as far as investors are concerned.”

“I don’t think investors would shy away from coming to Jaipur as they see the government has been able to handle the situation swiftly. There is no danger of us missing out on major invesnments,” said Jain.

The chamber has over 10,000 members in the state.

“There will be certainly some impact on the tourism inflow to the state and people might hesitate to venture out from homes for entertainment or to eat out. This would mean a loss to the hospitality and entertainment industry. But this would last only for a maximum of three months,” he added.

“Also, small shopkeepers might find the going slow as people would try not to go to markets in the evening,” Jain said.

As Jaipur also manufactures a wide range of products that are exported, the loss of the shutdown was felt as craftsmen, workers and basic material could not reach factories.

Praising the spirit of Jaipur, Jain said he plans to request Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje to allot a land to build a memorial for the people who died in the blasts.

“We need to earmark the space for a memorial so that we can remember those who lost their lives in such a dastardly act. I will soon be meeting and discussing this with the chief minister. She is a wise and intelligent woman. I’m sure she will not say ‘no’,” he said.

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