Rajesh and Selvam do not just net fish; they use nets to make apartments pigeon-proof, says Aparna Karthikeyan
Pigeons have been variously called: a filthy menace, flying rats and a host of other unflattering names. People go to great lengths to keep them out – hawks are hired to scare them away; ultra-sonic devices are used to repel them; and some even set off crackers to frighten them. But few years ago, J. Rajesh and K. Selvam came up with a far simpler solution – they employed nylon nets.
“Near our house, in Besant Nagar, an apartment had a huge problem with pigeons. The birds made the place filthy, and they asked us to do something,” says Rajesh. “Being fishermen, we thought of using the material we always work with – fishing nets. So we put up the nets and nailed them, and that kept the birds out”.
Over the years, Rajesh and Selvam have fine-tuned the process, establishing an additional source of income. Fishing, they both say, is no longer lucrative; in a single generation, the yield from the sea has plummeted, mostly because of over-fishing. “Some fishermen even go out on coolie work, but for us, the netting job brings in some money, when there’s work,” Rajesh says. Currently, the duo use custom made netting, sourced from Nagercoil. “It looks blue, but when it’s fitted, the colour is not very visible. So, it won’t mar the appearance of the building or balcony,” says Selvam. Besides balconies, any area – even on tall buildings - that the birds roost/ nest can be covered with the net. “We have worked in about fifty places so far. We have done no advertising – our orders come through customer recommendations,” says Selvam, while Rajesh says that since the net is very strong, it withstands sun and rain, as do the brass hooks they use to fix it in place. “We charge Rs.14/ sq.ft if it is an area over 1000sq.ft. If it is below that, then the rate is Rs.20/ sq.ft. And, we give a three year guarantee”.
“Their netting has given us immense relief from the pigeons,” says Shobha V. Manickam, an apartment owner in Anna Nagar. “For the past 15 years, pigeons were making a mess of our apartment building”. And where pest control agencies could not help, Rajesh and Selvam did – with their simple idea, of a nylon net and a handful of brass-hooks. They can be contacted at 9962241535 and 9839357437.