Some employees turn vendors along pavements

Ranganathan Street that is usually associated with crowds milling about with no space even for an errant elbow, wore a desolate look on Wednesday, two days after civic authorities sealed 25 buildings in T. Nagar.

While employees of some of the shops got their salary on the first of the month and decided to send it to their hometowns, others hung around expecting some encouraging news.

Employees of smaller shops decided it was best to take matters into their own hands.

“I did not want to sit idle as I have a family to support,” said S.Nagoor Meeran.

He, along with his two friends, has set up shop outside the closed shutters of the shop that they were employed in.

“There were 10 people employed in this store but seven have returned home,” he said. “The owner encouraged us to set up a small shop as he said this matter may not be resolved for months,” he added.

S.Sadhu Sunder, who was previously employed in a shop selling dress materials, has plans of selling different items on a daily basis.

“Today, we are selling umbrellas which we bought from Parrys. Depending on the weather tomorrow, we may sell something else,” he said.

“I cannot return home because I won't be able to find work there,” said a salesperson of a textile showroom whose building is among the 25 sealed. “We are not educated enough to find alternative work in Chennai,” he added.

His colleague, M.Selvam, was happy to have a few days off work but was perplexed by the situation. “The showrooms have been around for so long. Why put a seal on them now?” he asked.

Their female colleagues, however, preferred to keep silent on the issue as they made their way back to the hostels.

News of the sealed showrooms has reduced the crowds that frequent this area, said V.Chidambaram, an autorickshaw driver. “If the authorities were not serious about the action, they would have not sealed the shops,” he said, stating that it was a welcome move to curb the unmanageable crowds.

“This may reduce our income but I think it is better for the public,” he added.

Some employees of shops on Ranganathan Street claimed that power supply to the sealed buildings has been cut.

A senior official of TANGEDCO, however, said while electricity connections to a total of 20 buildings were disconnected of which 19 are on Usman Road, no disconnections have been made on Ranganathan Street.

More In: Chennai