Ludhiana likes to live it large but the cash crunch has taken the fun out of the weekend.
All four malls on Ferozepur Road and the one near Fountain Chowk wore a deserted look for the second Saturday since the demonitisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. With hardly any business during the week, mall owners pinned their hopes on the weekend rush, only to be left disappointed.
“We were expecting a huge crowd. We thought many would come to watch the sequel to Chaar Sahibzaade but our hopes have been dashed. Few people visited the mall on Friday and Saturday probably due to the lack of ready cash,” said Manav Inder Singh Guram, the manager of marketing and communications, MBD Group.
The footfall at MBD Neopolis was negligible. The rush used to be much more even on week days before the demonitisation. Weekends were a jampacked affair but not anymore with residents choosing to skip shopping and eating out besides giving movies a miss.
Guram said the few customers visiting the mall were using debit and credit cards instead of cash.
“Demonetisation has dented the mall business in this city where people used to come out in large numbers on weekends,” said Guram.
The picture at Pavilion mall near Fountain Chowk was just as bleak. The mall, which is popular for its multiplex where Ludhianvis like to watch movies and shop late into the night, saw few visitors.
Rupinder Kaur, a resident of Civil Lines, who had come to visit the mall, said that she was surprised to find no rush on a weekend. “The ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes has taken the charm out of the weekend. I used my debit card for buying two movie tickets. Earlier, I used to pay in cash,” she said.