Blessing in disguise
KOCHI: At a time when an unprecedented havoc by flood turned lives of Kochiites upside down, a few people consider it as a blessing in disguise. A few weeks after the flood hit the city, the demand for electricians, plumbers, masons, woodcutters and experts to repair electronic equipment has drastically gone up.
“People are pouring in with complaints after the water receded from their homes. Though we wanted to attend every request, the unavailability of electronic parts prevents us from repairing every equipment,” says Sandeep, an employee of ICOM Global Solutions, Kochi.
As the flood mainly hit the ground floor, most of the complaints are coming in refrigerators, washing machines and LED televisions. As many of the customers are in poor financial condition after the flood, we attend the cases at a nominal rate, adds Sandeep.
Echoing the same, Sharanya, office manager of Fixall, says there is an increase in the number of complaints received per day.
“As we offer an online platform to register their complaints, people can easily reach out to us. Most of the complaints are from Aluva,” she says.
Though the floods have largely affected the economically backward section in the city, they are not giving up and instead cash in on the opportunity to regain their livelihood. Joshua, who was running a vegetable shop in the city was devastated by the flood. “My daily source of income became standstill during the floods.
But I sell candles by going from door-to-door in the locality. I heard about the price hike of vegetable after floods, but I will sell it only on the price existed before the floods. Who knows, we might be the victim tomorrow?” asks Joshua.
Compared to last year, the sales of candles in the city hasn’t witnessed any booming sales in the first quarter of the year. But the floods have totally changed the picture. “Due to the extensive power shortage, there is a rise in sales after the flood. Although I am a retailer, I sell my product at a low price,” says Nancy, who sells her handmade candles in Kochi.
As the calamity led to the collapsing of several vulnerable building structures and constant damages to the houses, masons and labourers are in high demand. “Customers are willing to pay me double the amount of my usual pay. But a person who is directly affected by the flood, I can understand the difficulty in getting casual labourers,” says Kunjumon hailing from Alappuzha, a mason by profession. He adds, “Usually we charge between Rs 900 to Rs 1,000 and it rose to 1,500 and above on a daily basis. But now I am repairing the houses by charging below 500.”
The flood did not spare the water supply and storage tanks but it proved helpful for plumbers and electricians. “Within a week, I could make a profit of Rs 3,000, which otherwise takes two to three weeks before the floods,” said S Hari, a plumber from Thevara. “Most of the pipelines that were blocked due to waste accumulation. Although it takes time to fix, the work is fetching us good profits.”
On the other hand, work to mend broken walls inside homes is also picking up.
“I am earning Rs 500 more each day for working to catch up with the demand. Even though it is not a very big profit, customers have been increasing day by day,” said Muhammad, a mason.