Trade takes a hit in Trilokpuri

Property rates in certain blocks of Trilokpuri have nosedived after the recent communal riots. The immediate impact has been on rented accommodation for which there is little demand after the violence, say residents and property dealers.

This is only one element of Trilokpuri’s economy that has been hit hard. Most of those whose business establishments were destroyed in the violence are yet to return to work. Some are waiting for the situation to improve further while others await police probe or are looking to sell their shops.

Nearly three weeks after the violence was brought under control, a revisit to Trilokpuri shows shopkeepers struggling to regain lost business. Particularly hit are shopkeepers who depended on outsiders, who are still afraid to visit Trilokpuri.
Sameer Salmani, a property dealer, says the monthly rents of flats have dropped to half. “One room-flats rented out for Rs 4,000 before the riots are not going even for Rs 2,000,” says Salmani.

Many tenants who left worked in factories in neighbouring Noida.
“The tenants think we locals can manage during riots but they would be isolated. About a dozen tenants in my lane have vacated. Two of my flats are empty,” says landlord Nishar Khan.

Another property dealer Mohammed Ilyas says mistrust between the two communities continues. “There was an empty shop in block 29. I asked its owner who is my friend to rent it out to a Muslim. He declined and asked me to wait for some weeks for the situation to normalise,” says Ilyas.

But Rajender, a meat shop owner in block 28, says the rents even in the affected areas would bounce back after some weeks. The factory workers needed accommodation.
Meat sale at his shop has seen an all-time low as most of his customers were from neighbouring Mayur Vihar.

For those whose shops were burnt or looted have a long road ahead. Israr Khan’s three-storey garments showroom was burnt down. The charred building has not even been cleaned. Nobody is ‘tampering' with it.

“Police say they are yet to get test reports to ascertain whether the fire was an accident or deliberately done. They insist that a short circuit caused the fire, but isn’t that a terrible coincidence,” says Israr. His sons are unemployed now and he is set for a long legal battle to prove that rioters set his shop ablaze.

Babu Khan’s two shops were burnt down. He wants to sell the building, but there are no buyers.

“On any other day, my building would sell for Rs 1 crore. But now no one would pay even half the price,” says Babu. For now, he has repaired and restarted work in one of the two shops.

But Hashim Qureshi’s two butcher shops, which were allegedly looted during the prohibitory orders, are yet to reopen. “They looted the freezer, meat, motor, everything. Its an empty shop now,” says Qureshi.

In Qureshi’s absence, two men Sonu Rathi and Vicky opened meat shops two buildings away. “That shopkeeper might not open his shops. So there was scope,” says Rathi, who began business only a week ago.

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