Chennai

Residents stock up for the rainy day

On Friday, residents went on a buying frenzy, triggered by fears of another deluge that could lead to unavailability of essential items. People were seen grabbing milk, water, vegetables and provisions from outlets that were open.

Vidyasagar, a resident of Rangarajapuram, said, “I’m fine with the prices because there are places where people don’t even have access to these commodities. But selling milk for Rs. 100 is certainly not alright. What will families who have children and need more milk do?” he asked. Tea shop owners, who bought milk for Rs. 80 and Rs. 100 a litre, increased the price of cigarettes.

Sources at Aavin said that supply would be normalised by Saturday as they were mobilising milk from dairies in Villupuram, Salem and Vellore. “We will also sell milk for cash at all our 16 zonal offices. More milk powder is also being moved to our outlets so that people can use it if milk is not easily accessible. Consumers need not worry about renewing the monthly cards as there is time up to 15,” explained an official. Aavin has also supplied 150 tonnes of milk powder for relief works to Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts.

Vegetables prices too shot up due to shortage in arrivals from other parts of the State. Wholesalers are sourcing vegetables from north India. The Koyambedu wholesale market started getting nearly truck-loads of brinjals, drumsticks, cabbage, beans and tomatoes from Gujarat, Ranchi and Mumbai. S. Chandran, president of Koyambedu Market Licensed Traders Association, said they had no sales for the past two days. “As supply is less than the demand, the cost of vegetables has gone up by Rs.10-Rs.20 a kg. We hope the situation will normalise in three days,” he said.

Shortage of drinking water has been a major issue across the city. With poor connectivity, people could not get water cans or even bottles. Some private water suppliers were selling cans for Rs. 100 and in some places, it was Rs. 150. S. Mukundan, a tea shop owner in Thoraipakkam, said he was procuring a can for Rs. 150. “I need water so I buy at whatever rate I get,” he said.

Only 50 per cent of the water packing units are working as water had either entered the premises or power is not available. A. Shakespeare, founder of the Greater Tamil Nadu Packaged Drinking Water Manufacturers Association, said transportation of packaged water was another major problem. For the past three days, the city is getting only half of its usual share of 90 lakh litres a day. “It will take another five days for the situation to improve. We are coordinating with organisations that have transport facility to provide water,” he said.

Not just milk, water and vegetables, but residents were buying everything off the shelves. At a private outlet in T. Nagar, people were seen grabbing biscuit packets, noodles and other essential items. By around 8 a.m. the outlet was empty. People were standing in huge queues at the billing counters.

(With additional reporting by Sangeetha Kandhavel)

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 6:17:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/residents-stock-up-for-the-rainy-day/article7951811.ece

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