Apart from Marina beach, the popular hangouts in Chennai are Spencer’s Mall and Chennai Citi Centre. I am a regular visitor to these malls with my family few times every month. This Thursday when I went to Spencer’s around 6PM in the evening, I was told in the parking that due to TNEB power cuts – the ACs and Escalators will not work. We still decided to get in and brave it out. It turned out to be a complete wash-out. Many of the shops including Westside, Music world were closed down and remaining once like Landmark were nearly deserted. Since the interiors of these malls were made for an Air Conditioned environment, they have no natural air or light inlets – so it was unbearable to spend more than few minutes there.
I enquired with the check-out assistants in the shop and they confirmed that the power-cut is on all days including weekends. I purchased few books hurriedly and rushed out of the shop. We went to our favourite Fastfood snack shop in Second floor or Phase 2, it was also deserted. This left me thinking on the impact of the power cut on the livelihood of the people in these shops. The bigger shops like Landmark and Westside will slash their staffs or their compensation. Apart from them, Spencer’s has lot of small shops (like our favourite fast food shop) owned by individuals whose only livelihood is the daily sales, which is severely being affected due to the falling footfalls.
When globally the world is suffering from a slow-down or recession, power-cut in Tamilnadu is adding an extra unbearable burden to businesses. And to think of it this could have been easily avoided by proper planning by authorities over the last few years. One of the main reasons for power shortage in India has been reluctance of all state governments to privatise power generation and power distribution which is strongly controlled by state owned power boards. Due to this, there is heavy inefficiency in both generation and distribution, with some reports claiming the power theft to be over several tens of percentages.