Owners of small shops in soup in Kodagu

Owners of small shops in soup in Kodagu

Small shops like this have had no customers ever since the floods in Kodagu district, leaving the owners in doldrums. It will be long before it is business as usual. dh photo

The socio-economic dimension of the Kodagu floods is coming to the fore as thousands of small businesses that served villagers and tourists at interior junctions are seeing no business. This is because the buying power of people has been reduced.

The small shops on the arterial and sub-arterial road junctions cater to people from nearby villages who come for small purchases, from matchboxes to eatables and kerosene. With most of the flood victims staying away from their villages, thousands of families for whom the shops were a livelihood stare at a blank future.

More than 2,000 inmates have left the relief camps, but not all of them are returning to their villages.

“Almost half of them are going to their relatives’ houses,” an official said. When asked about their economic status, she said except a handful, the inmates would not have more than the Rs 3,800 per family distributed as relief fund.

“More than 20,000 people will have to adjust to the new situation of loss in revenue and income. Thousands will lose jobs,” an official said, referring to the thousands of acres of land washed away in floods.

Of the five shops on the main road at second Monnangeri, including a small eatery, only two were open. However, Sanjay Kumar, a resident of nearby Cherambane, said there was nobody to buy anything.

“Most of second Monnangeri has been wiped out by the floods. The closure of the Mangaluru highway means nobody comes on this road. Many tourists spots have been closed. Tourists will not come for at least two months till the roads are restored,” he said.

Jayanna, who has a small grocery store at Madenadu, said he gave some of the materials in his store to relief centres.

“I don’t have land. The shop helped us earn about Rs 5,000 per month, so that I could take care of the family. The shop has been closed for 10 days now,” he said.

Three entrepreneurs in Madikeri city, who ran a relief camp at Chowdeshwari temple, said they had started to help out micro businesses.

“We have begun with a mechanic from Madapura whose shop has no business. We have offered to shift him to a place nearby,” said Dhananjay M.

Deputy Commissioner P I Sreevidya said officials will take into account the indirect victims of the disaster.

“We are looking into the best way to support such people. We are already working on restoring roads. Reviving tourism will help the people further,” she said.