Fear still lurks around

dipping business

Fear still lurks around

Looks like Church Street will never be the same again. The December 28 blast that killed a woman and injured a few others has left its impact.

The restaurants and establishments on the road have registered a dip in the business. People, who used to hang out on Church Street, now think twice before venturing out in the once familiar territory. Clearly, fear still looms large.  Following the blast, cops both in plain clothes and uniform, have been deputed here on duty for 24 hours. Most
establishments facing Church Street have installed cameras and tightened their security. Post the blast, the management of ‘Coconut Grove’ has installed six cameras — three of them facing the road and two facing the interiors.

Raju Thomas, proprietor of ‘Coconut Grove’ says, “The business was badly affected in the first few weeks and we haven’t got back that old crowd. Looks like people are still scared to venture out. We have also employed a security guard at both the gates.” Raju reasons that the blast could happen anywhere but people must muster enough courage to come back to Church Street. “The only saving grace at the moment are the steady stream of foreigners,” he adds.

Another business establishment that has a large footfall is Amoeba but that too has registered a fall in profits. RS Dharmendhar, general manager, ‘Amoeba’ and ‘Three Quarter Chinese’ says, “The ‘Lalbagh Flower Show’ this year has attracted a large crowd but the crowd on Church Street hasn’t picked up after the blast. The stretch is almost empty on the weekends. People are still scared to come back here.”

Apart from restaurants, those selling apparel have also been affected. Irfan Noor, who owns an apparel store on Church Street says, “There has almost been a 50 per cent dip in the business but it’s slowly getting back. The only time this stretch came alive was during the kite festival and then it was back to the empty look.” Those regularly hanging out on Church Street say they still shudder to walk the spot where the blast took place.

Sagar Jeevan, Anusha G Hegde and Abhinaya R, engineering students of RNS Institute of Technology, have their favourite hangouts on Church Street but now they don’t really head this way.

Sagar says, “There should be more security across the City and not only on Church Street and I definitely feel a little scared when I come out here.” Anusha and Abhinaya aren’t really scared but they feel the security measures aren’t enough. “I don’t think the police should concentrate only on Church Street but monitor the whole city in a more disciplined manner,” they say.

People in the City have a laid-back attitude, says Supriya, a financial advisor with ICICI Bank.

“There is no security in any part of the City and I don’t find too much checking happening in  malls and hotels. The cops seem to be focussing only on a few areas which is not the right way,” says Supriya who also thinks there must be more cameras installed at all important junctions.

The Bangalore City Police has increased the police presence in and around the Central Business District (CBD). Sandeep Patil, DCP (Central) informs, “After the blast, there are anti-sabotage checks conducted everyday in several parts of the City. In addition to this, 30 constables, two sub-inspectors, three Hoysalas and two Cheetahs are monitoring the areas over the weekend. The security will be further tightened for Republic Day,” he sums up.

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