The flight of natives of the northeast from in and around Chennai has not only had its impact on service / industrial sectors but on the business of the second-hand garments.

Enquiries reveal that migrant workers and their family members formed a major chunk of customers of the weekly second-hand cloth ‘shandis’ held every Friday at Thirisulam near Pallavaram in the morning and on Sundays at Vaanagaram near Maduravoyal from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

These workers, most of whom were contract labourers at construction sites or employees at bars and restaurants, would flock to the ‘shandis’ where prices of clothes ranged from Rs.15 to Rs.100 - 125, said Devi of Thiruverkadu

“Our family is engaged in this business for more than 5 years. We used to procure old but not-so-worn out dresses from traders at Choolaimedu and offer them at an affordable cost to the lowest income group of the society at the weekly markets”, she added.

She said the numbers of customers had increased gradually with the steady inflow of migrant workers over the past couple of years.

On Friday, however, only half the usual number of customers came to the market at Thirisulam.

“Just a handful of northeastern faces were seen on that day. The same was the situation on Sunday at the market at Vaanagaram too,” she said.

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