CHENNAI: Provisional stores in several parts of the city are running out of supply as godowns have been inundated in the recent heavy rains.
In many of the retail chains, the shelves are empty and “out-of-stock” is a standard reply given by sales persons in the shops.
“We are down with supplies as there is a huge demand of items like noodles and other provisons for flood-hit areas,” said a manager of a popular retail chain. Most common items in shortage are biscuits and ready-to-eat snacks. “There is a huge demand for biscuits in my locality and I am struggling to get it in the market. On Tuesday, I had to travel as far as Padi to get it,” said Vijay Kumar, running a provision store in Nerkundram.
The stores are afraid to lose their clientele and hence walk the extra mile to get the supplies through other modes. Rajesh, owner of Vinayaka Stores near Chinmaya Nagar, blames the panic buying during the heavy rains. “Many residents have started community kitchens and are buying a lot. People are also stocking items due to forecast of heavy rains. On the other hand, supplies are getting delayed since most of the godowns are submerged,” said Rajesh. “I am getting the stock of wheat flour from Vadapalani. I am also looking at other alternatives,” he says while pointing to the empty shelves.
Its not just inundation in a few pockets, but the damaged trucks that is hurting supplies to the stores.
In South Chennai several shopkeepers are accused of hoarding stocks and hiking prices. In areas like Tiruvanmiyur, prices of essential items, including water cans and food products have peaked. Even small packets of bread are sold as high as Rs 40-50.
But it was vegetables as always that took the first ticket to price-jump. “Most common daily vegetables like tomatoes, onions, beans and bottle gourd are going for double the rate around Adyar,” said Samuel, who went out to stock up on Tuesday.
“Unless there is a shop you know and buy from for several years, you have to shell out more for daily needs,” agrees Vikas, college going resident of Mandaveli.
Some locals bemoan that not even their daily indulgence of tobacco has been spared. They claim that cigarettes too are being sold at Rs 14-15 a piece.