Except for the essential services all shops will remain closed till April 14 in Tamil Nadu and the government is planning to extend the lockdown to another 15 days following the recommendations of an expert committee recommendations.
With all electronic shops closed, those who work from home are finding it difficult to get their laptops and mobile phones fixed or even get a new broadband connection.
“The government imposed a total lockdown in short notice and my company couldn’t give laptops to all employees to initiate work from home. They asked us to use personal laptops and those who didn’t have laptops were asked to go on leave. Though I have a laptop, I don’t have a broadband connection at home. Using mobile internet hotspot is not viable for my project. I couldn’t get a connection during the lockdown,” said S Ashok Kumar, an IT Professional. He added that his company tried to procure laptops for all employees but learnt that demand for it has surged.
A traders’ association on Ritchie Street claimed that it would take another three months to revive the crisis even if the government relaxes the lockdown as the imports from China and Korea have come to halt.
R Chandalia, secretary, Chennai Electronics and Infotech Traders Association, Ritchie Street, said, “It will be difficult for us to operate during the lockdown. Of course, we will follow the government directives like providing masks, social distancing and safe environment to workers but imports from China declined rapidly. Our shops thrive on Chinese goods.”
“It is going to be tough for small retailers to pay the rent and salary to the employees due to the lockdown. After the lockdown period, we have decided to approach the State government for help,” Chandalia added.
B Gobinath, a software developer, said, “My company gave me a desktop to work from home. Since my project doesn’t require a high-speed internet connection, I thought I could use mobile hotspot. But when I set up the computer, I couldn’t get a 4G connection in my room. I can’t buy a modem, broadband connection or a new sim which could work inside our house due to lockdown.” Another retailer who runs a laptop repair shop in Anna Nagar said, “We can’t work from home. Customers are asking us about their gadgets, which we couldn’t repair on time. We are also facing a problem in procuring spare parts since they come from China. I don’t know how am I going to pay rent and salary to employees.”