By Krishnachand K | Express News Service | 20th September 2017
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the state government all set to amend the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments Act based on the new Model Shops and Establishment Act, 2016, night life is likely to become more vibrant in all the cities in the state.
However, the capital city is yet to wake up from a deep slumber. T’Puram Express talks to the authorities and residents regarding the Union Government’s diktat to bring the new act into force from November.
Even as the city witnessed many lifestyle changes over the last decade, the 10 am to 8 pm shopping culture is still in vogue here. If you visit the streets and commercial zones after 9 pm, you will be greeted by closed shutters. According to experts, it is high time this tradition is done away with.
A month ago, Trivandrum Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI) had recommended night-time shopping at a seminar which was organised in association with the Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR).
According to S N Raghu Chandran Nair, president of TCCI, the shopping culture is expected to undergo a paradigm shift once the under construction and proposed malls open. At present, the construction of a mall at Chackai and one at Pattoor is nearing completion. Lulu’s second mall in the state is to come up beside the NH bypass at Akkulam.
“We are expecting a change soon since the techies demand a night-life. Thiruvananthapuram was considered to be a conservative city and an abode of government servants. However, the influx of IT sector has changed the culture of the city to a great extent. For instance, the purchasing capacity has increased. So obviously, the techies demand more entertainment and shopping options,” Nair said.
He also said other big shopping centers in the city too can join the league of night shopping. This will prompt the restaurants to remain open round the clock.
Former Chief Secretary, Jiji Thomson said Thiruvananthapuram needs to change at the earliest. It should catch up with the fast-moving culture of other cities. “The capital city is often termed as ‘the city of babus’. Everyone goes to bed at 9 and the people live on a shoe-string budget. However, the new generation wants a change very badly and of course they are getting paid much higher than we used to at their age. They can’t adjust or digest the culture and lifestyle which was prevalent in the past,” he said.
When contacted the office-bearers of Vypari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi, said the state will have to modify many rules for the idea to succeed. “We may not be able to enjoy the benefits of the act until we can guarantee the safety of women and have better transport facilities in the night. There has not been any discussion with the government on the act yet,” an executive member said.
However, the city police are prepared to handle the night-shopping scenario, if it becomes a reality. But, they are skeptical about its implementation since the people still hesitate to go outside after 9 pm.
“We will intensify night patrolling and all the law and order mechanism for the safety of people. But, we are not sure whether people will venture out late in the night considering the tradition of the city.
Of course, some changes have happened due to the arrival of the IT companies in Technopark. But it will take time for people to break out of their conservative shells,” said P Prakash, City Police Commissioner.
Meanwhile, many city residents beg to differ. Rachel Thomas, a housewife, who resides at Kuravankonam, said many women still go out in the night to have dinner at a restaurant. “The city’s conservative tag is a thing of the past. Many branded restaurants are opening here and they close only by 11 pm based on the footfalls. For instance, Kowdiar, Kuravankonam and Keston roads have become commercial hubs in the last five years and many branded shops have opened their outlets.
This is a positive sign. Moreover, the mall culture is all set to take Thiruvananthapuram by storm. So slowly, the night shopping culture too will gain a foothold here,” she said.
According to the owner of a well-known fast-food chain, many youngsters come to the outlet even after 10 pm. “Usually, we close the shop at 10 pm. But recently, we had to extend the time by half an hour due to the rush. Well, we are expecting a change in the near future considering the developments. Thiruvananthapuram is also becoming a cosmopolitan city,” said Anand, outlet owner. –
Under the new act
It will cover establishments employing 10 or more workers except manufacturing units. To provide freedom to operate 365 days in a year and opening/closing time of establishment. This could mean that shops and establishments can operate 24/7. Women to be permitted during night shift.
This news was published in The New Indian express on September 20, 2017. Click here to read: Wake up! Night shopping is coming soon in Kerala