CHENNAI: The lockdown has affected everyone. It has hurt economy and employment hard. And, the list includes those walking on the dark side. With people staying put at home, burglars, robbers, and thieves have to come up with new business models to earn a living. A group of four-five such men made an earnest attempt on Sunday.
On Friday, an elderly couple living in Seethamal Colony of Teynampet was fooled into paying `1,000 to the men, after they promised to spray disinfectant around the area. They were posing to be health workers from the Corporation. “Unaware of their intention, the couple handed over `1,000. Later, the group proceeded to trick more residents in the area. However, the residents association was alerted, after which they vanished.
“They looked like thugs. A few were standing outside the gate, keeping watch, while the rest of them were talking to the resident. This is a scary situation. Elderly and women staying alone are at danger here,” said Rajkumar RP, member of the colony’s resident welfare association.
Soon, this incident was brought to the attention of other welfare associations in south Chennai, and also to MLA Natraj, who in turn alerted the police. “Similar cases have been reported from Mylapore and T Nagar, too.” Police are tracing the men using CCTV. Corporation officials advised people to ask for the person’s identity card. Officials said all health workers who are deployed to carry out door-to-door fever survey are given proper ID cards.
They can get the sanitary inspector’s number from the personnel and confirm their identity. “Also, no corporation worker will collect money for any exercise. This is the most easy way to check the person’s authenticity. Also, only one or two persons are asked to come for surveys and never in groups. We deploy the same team of people for one zone,” said a senior corporation official.