CHENNAI: With essentials emptying fast at convenience stores, residents of South Chennai allege that shopkeepers in the area are hoarding stock and selling products for steep, unfair profits, while claiming a lack of goods. Residents tells City Express how they are unable to visit a store without at least `100 in hand. Many residents from Thiruvanmiyur complain that consumers have to argue with shopkeepers over the prices of water cans, food, and even umbrellas, which have suddenly become expensive.
“Its a sham,” says Vishvesh Raj, who lives in the locality. “My cousin who lives in Mudichur, which is now literally a lake, tells me he still gets water cans for `30. Why does it cost `160 here?” he questions. Eggs sell at a rupee more, while departmental stores sell small packets of bread for as much as `40-50. Even the cost of idly-dosa batter was at all-time high.
But it was the prices of vegetables, that first shot up, as vegetables became a luxury. Residents had to wander outside their localities just to buy ingredients for their lunch. “Nothing costs less than `100. Most common vegetables like tomatoes, onions, beans and bottle gourd sell for double their normal rates around Adyar,” said Samuel, a resident, on Tuesday, who also alleges that they are being fleeced because the locality has many people who can afford the high rates.
“Two vendors told me that their stocks were damaged by the rain, and they had to increase their prices,” says Vijayalakshmi, a housekeeper. “Even the cost of fast food has gone up. This is not feasible for the public. How can we run the house with such costs?”
“Unless there is a shop you trust and have been buying from for several years, you will have to shell out a lot for food or water cans,” says Vikas, a college-going resident of Mandaveli. Some locals complain that not even their daily indulgence of tobacco has been spared. They claim that cigarettes are sold “in black,” with each costing `14-15.