Online education a bane for photocopy shops

Business Education Pandemic

Twelve photocopy shops in and around Chathiram Bus stand struggle to run their business amid the pandemic.

Tiruchirappalli: Owners of photocopy shops around Chathiram bus stand said they find it difficult to pay rent as their business has nearly come to a standstill because no schools and colleges are open. Sri Vasan Printer’s owner R Lakhmanan said, invested around Rs. 10 lakh in December. The lockdown in March hit his business hard, as project work in most colleges usually starts at that time.“I am paying rent from my pocket,” he said. He added that he had to sell one photocopy machine because of slow business.

“We usually have 200—300 customers a day. It has reduced to 20 now. Before the lockdown, we had students visiting from five colleges for making photocopies of project work as our shop is located near the Bus stand,” said Ramesh Babu from Sun Way Xerox. He added, “Everything is happening digitally now. If this continues, our business will go into loss.”

Anbazhagan K, owner of Golden Printers and Xerox, said they had to reduce the number of full-time employees from five to two because there wasn’t enough business this year. He added that the situation would change if schools and colleges are reopened.

The printing and photocopy processes will be restored once the educational institutions are reopened, said Assistant Professor J Maheshwaran. “Not everyone is comfortable reading online,” he added.

Santhosh Sivan, a final year student at St Joseph’s College,  said his college has one photocopy machine but it is usually crowded because it is priced lower than the ones outside the campus. He used to visit photocopy shops located outside the campus at least three times a week.

Dilip, a 2020 graduate from St Joseph’s College, said the project submission happened online this year.

Professor Maheswaran added, colleges are opting for online submission of projects to reduce paper waste. Photocopy stores must start thinking about the environment as well. This business is surviving because a lot of people are not digitally proficient in a developing country like ours, he remarked.