NEW DELHI: Showing signs of normalcy in riot-hit northeast Delhi, almost all shops in the worst affected localities such as Maujpur, Brijpur, Mustafabad and Chand Bagh have now reopened after a gap of a week. While stores selling goods of daily needs like groceries, sweets and medicines opened earlier in the week, other business outlets, too, have now reopened as the situation is now limping back to normal amid intense police patrolling.

“The situation is quite normal now. I opened my shop yesterday (Wednesday). But as you can see, there is no customer. Earlier, it used to be a busy affair for us,” said Nadeem, 56, who sells plywood doors in Mustafabad. Like Nadeem, many local traders were sitting idle in front of their shops in Mustafabad-Brijpur road, which used to be busy road bustling with traffic. “The situation is bad for those who earn from daily wages. I have four such workers who do transporting or fixing work for our customers. They, too, have no work now,” he added.

Mustafabad is one such locality which was badly affected in the violence. “There used to be no space on the road to set your feet. The traffic is now less than half of that. And this too will go down after evening,” said Farooq, showing the Brijpur-Mustafabad road. According to his estimate, his electronic shop has incurred a loss of around Rs 60,000 in the last 10 days. “It was due to fear that I did not open my shop. Now, when it is open, there are no customers,” he added. Though there are more vehicles and people on the roads than in the last few days, local shopkeepers and e-rickshaw drivers told The Sunday Guardian that there is a sharp decline in their daily turnover than in days before the riots took place. “There is a 30% decline in our daily sales compared to our sales a day before the riots took place. Many people have left their homes and there is an uneasiness among people. It will take at least a month’s time for everything to become normal,” said a salesman at Siddique Medical Store in Chand Bagh.

“Since the roads connecting to Uttar Pradesh are now closed and people of neighbouring areas have stopped coming, there is a decline in sales in all shops, from cosmetics to iron or steel. This whole area is a big market for all neighbouring areas,” said Brijmohan, who owns a furniture showroom in Maujpur.

According to some unofficial estimates, rioters burnt 92 houses, 57 shops, 500 vehicles, six warehouses and four factories in northeast Delhi.  As a relief measure for the victims, the Delhi government has announced Rs 5 lakh compensation for uninsured commercial establishments. However, many local shopkeepers are of the view that the compensation will ultimately help landlords, not those whose shops were vandalised or burnt.