Mumbai under seige again

Mumbai, Aug 1 | Updated: Aug 2 2005, 05:30am hrs
Monday saw almost a repeat of the killer deluge that crippled Mumbai on Terrible Tuesday, with India Inc and financial markets again reeling under the impact of heavy rains that continued to lash the city since Saturday night.

Banks opened for business as usual on Monday, but customer transactions were down to 50-30% of the daily average. Clearance of high value cheques worth crores was affected in the countrys financial hub.

The second spell of rains also saw volumes go south in stock markets. On BSE, the turnover nosedived to Rs 2,247.11 crore, lower than the turnover reported on July 27, the day Mumbai recorded the centurys highest rainfall.

Most offices worked only for half a day as Mumbai police asked offices to close by 2 pm as a precautionary measure. Century Textiles & Industries, which shut manufacturing operations at its rayon unit near Mumbai last Tuesday, said full resumption of operations could take about a week.

Air-Indias operations have been severely affected as its servers and electronic equipment located at Santa Cruz controlling the airlines global network have been damaged. Bookings on the website have been suspended.

The high profile retail sector also took a drubbing with many new malls and retail chains wearing a deserted look. Shoppers Stop CEO BS Nagesh said, Some of our outlets were closed. Piramyd CEO KN Iyer said, Sunday witnessed a dip in sales of 10% compared to other Sundays. There was a 5% decline in sales on weekdays. Food and grocery sales at Piramyd, on the other hand, registered a jump, showing a 25% rise, he said. Small distributors and outlets, whose stock was soiled by rains, took to selling them at discounted prices and witnessed a huge rush. Cellular firms, whose networks were down on Tuesday last, were well-prepared for the second spell. Bharti Cellular CEO (Mumbai-circle) Jayant Khosla, said, Our network is working properly in this weather. Rival Hutch said it had declared a holiday for non-essential staff. Software companies, on the other hand, minimised damage, by shifting projects to other locations. Last Tuesday and Wednesday, when our SEEPZ (Santacruz Electronics Export Processing Zone) centre was affected, all the mission critical work was moved to our other unaffected locations, the Tata Consultancy Services spokesperson said.