In a state of shock

Written by Shreya Roy | Shreya Roy | Bengalure | Updated: Dec 1 2008, 04:46am hrs
The mood in Bengalure at first glance is business as usual. In offices all discussions revolved around the terrorist attack. Delving deeper, one does however find that people of this very cosmopolitan city do have a very tangible fear. The packed cafes, restaurants, and pubs were abuzz with animated discourse on the various aspects of the attack, and the possibility of a similar situation arising in the city. While most were humbled by the heroics of Bangalores Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, confidence about the citys capacity to tackle such situations was very low. Resentment towards the government and politicians was visible. Although industry people such as RC Purohit, MD of Bhoruka Steels and Services say that in this day of technology, business can be conducted without actually having to be physically present, and that the quality of results delivered by Indian companies will ensure that foreign investment does not stop, common people here seem to feel that the natural consequence to this will be a major chunk of outsourcing being pulled out. One also hears hushed discussions at the tables of foreign nationals about the attack in which foreigners were clearly targeted.


Chandigarh / Deepa Jainani

With meetings cancelled, visits postponed, business orders delayed and sentiments running high the business community sounded very low while referring to the untoward incident in Mumbai. The impact could be seen on the four-day Agro technology & business fair of CII in Chandigarh with many prominent faces missing. MK Dutta, Assistant General Manager, Public Relations of Hoshiarpur based International Tractors (Sonalika) said, There is a fear psychosis amongst people here and a few of them have cancelled their Mumbai visits. Business will be affected even though for a temporary phase. With international movement restricted and the security tightened the flow of business may slowdown. But we hope that the situation wont have any long term impact. But few companies are confident that the terror attack will not have a significant impact on the economy up North. Balraj Kapoor, MD of Jalandhar based JMP industries, manufacturer of auto components feels that the attack wont impact the production at all.


Chennai / K Vijayakumar

The people in Chennai are outraged over Wednesdays abominable terror attacks on Mumbai. Many see a parallel between the Mumbai attacks and the 9/11 terror strike on the US, while for many it exposed the lack of vigil on the part of the countrys intelligence agencies. But at the same time, they were all praise for the men in uniform who fought a tooth and nail battle to nab down the terrorists. This is bad for the business and economy of the country. It sure will send wrong signals. I am pretty worried about the current political leadership, whether at the state level or Central, said K Srinivasan, Managing Director, Cumi. I am impressed with the Russians who came to Chennai to sign an MoU with us. They could easily cancel the whole thing and had gone back to Russia. But they told me that once a commitment is made, one has to stand by it, come what may. What we need is such solid commitment to a just cause that is is a peaceful and prosperous India, he adds


New Delhi / Suman Tarafdar

The rivalry between the two cities is a subtext not always expressed by the politically correct. But the last couple of days have seen an outpouring of grief accompanied by outrage at the dastardly attacks in Mumbai. Even the elections, something people and parties alike have kept in mind for the better part of the year took a backseat as people were benumbed by the brutality of what was unfolding in their drawing rooms. Parties were muted, weddings wound up earlier, nightclubs, malls, theatres and even the popular annual Dastkar exhibition, remained deserted. There is such a sense of shock, especially as Delhi is almost as vulnerable to attacks, says Sanjay Gupta, banker and party regular. The tempo is down, and conversation always veers around to events in Mumbai. Agrees a leading hotelier who didnt wish to be named, saying booking cancellations were the order of the day. Delhi went to polls on Saturday, and despite it being a holiday for most, the holiday spirit was noticeably missing.


Hyderabad / Kavitha Venkatraman

I Syam Prasad Reddy, Managing Director and CEO of Indu Projects-a real estate and infrastructure development company lost Yes Banks Chairman, Ashok Kapur in these attacks in Mumbai. It is very sad to see the current state of affairs. I lost a good friend. I think, it is time for us to constitute a body which can handle such terrorist attack. All of us, irrespective of the political affiliations, have to come together to fight these attacks. The terror war on Mumbai will definitely have some kind of impact on the business. L Madhusudhan Rao, Chairman of Lanco Infratech condemned the attacks and said, Investment from foreign land into India, will now depend on what the government is going to do to protect the nation from any kind of terrorist attack, in the future. India still has a good chance to attract foreign investment.


Kolkata / Sudipta Datta

At the Jethro Tull concert in Kolkata on November 27, when Mumbai was still under a terrorist siege, no one was really talking about the events but it was always at the back of everyones minds. This was the first time Ian Anderson was performing in the city but no one could be effusive about the concert. In fact, says one fan who was there, we could touch the silence when we were observing the one minute silence at the start of the concert for the Mumbai victims. There have been cancellations at all major hotels and according to insiders, the Mumbai attacks will hit the tourist industry hard in peak season. A Hyatt spokesperson said: We are deeply disturbed by the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, and are working with the local police authorities to take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of guests and employees. And yet, everyone is aware that the city is not prepared for a terrorist strike the police force is under-peopled and not really combat-ready; the hospitals are already bursting at the seams and are almost always short of blood and bandages; and the porous border with Bangladesh makes the city a safe haven for insurgents.


Lucknow / Deepa Jainani

The immediate implication of the terror attack will be taken by the tourism industry. Cancellations have started pouring in for the bookings that had been done for various destinations of the state. However, Agra, which is the states biggest tourist attraction, is the worst hit. Tour operators have cancelled almost two dozen bookings to Agra after the attacks. India will be seen as a terrorist-infected country and people who were planning to visit the country, will shun India, at least for the time being, said DS Verma, Executive Director of the Indian Industries Association. Especially so as Uttar Pradesh is often seen as a hotspot of terror, with the terror trail being routed to Azamgarh and other eastern districts of the state, said a senior government officer. However, there are others who feel that all is not lost. The way the hospitality sector in Mumbai has reacted in these trying times is an eye-opener. This will definitely give India an edge in the eyes of global visitors, many of whom will come to Uttar Pradesh too, said an expert.


Pune / Geeta Nair and Nanda Kasabe

The mood has been somber in Pune. I cannot even begin to say what kind of impact this kind of attack would have on Indian business and need to look at resolving the crisis, says Baba Kalyani, CMD, Kalyani Group. Pune bid farewell to Mumbai Additional Commissioner of Police, Ashok Kamte, whose family were based in Pune. Schools remained closed and an uneasy calm remained throughout the city after the attacks. The citys link with Mumbai almost snapped with cargo and peoples movement between the city virtually coming to a halt. There was a drastic drop in the number of people using the Mumbai-Pune Expressway as well as the Pune-Mumbai trains and the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation buses, which saw a drop of 70 to 80 drop in passengers. There were few takers for the daily Mumbai-Pune Taxi service. Ganesh Natarajan, Deputy Chairman and MD, Zensar Technologies & Chairman, NASSCOM says it is a very big tragedy for India and this has shaken the confidence of the investors in India. We have to be very watchful of the future. But right now there has been no negative impact on business, Natarajan said.


Thiruvananthapuram / M Sarita Varma

The 512-km coastline Kerala is on toes after the coastline proved to be indeed security-porus further North. Equally sensitive is the mountain temple at Sabarimala, where almost six crore pilgrims congregate in the ongoing season of 60 days. The first crackdown of Mumbai attacks has started stinging Keralas Rs 11,000-crore tourism business. Cancellations have thinned room occupancies to 65%. In the same period last year, we were overbooked, says a resort-owner in Kovalam beach. But then, this is only a short-run confidence issue, argues Navas Miran, former Chairman, Kerala unit of CII. High literacy levels will help Kerala tide over the confidence crisis, says, Daniella, a British holidayer in Thiruvananthapuram. On the contrary, the literacy quotient has got even the corner shopwallas glued to the TV visuals of terror-sieged Mumbai to get paranoid by the minute. Although the state police has a shining AK-47 arsenal, the average cop feels comfy to brandish his light SLR-303.