Cyclone Gaja: Food, fuel sold at premium prices in these TN districts; power supply remains hit
'Fuel prices have risen with bunks selling petrol for Rs 100 a litre. In the evenings, the price rises to Rs 120 and there is heavy demand due to fuel requirements of generators,' said a resident.
NAGAPATTINAM: Power supply is being gradually restored between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam.
However, normalcy is expected to return in Vedaranyam in two weeks. According to officials in TANGEDCO and the district administration, 9,000 of the 18,000 damaged electricity poles have been removed.
Officials said the remaining poles would be cleared by this week. “We are slowly restoring power supply after installing new poles at crucial points. We hope to clear all poles by this week. Putting in all the poles may take another week,” said a senior TANGEDCO official.
Power has been restores to around 85 per cent of Nagapattinam town and adjacent villages. Restoration is still in progress in Keelvelur block. Officials said power supply to Vedaranyam would be
restored by Wednesday. The lack of power supply to petrol bunks has caused delays in dispensing fuel. People have been waiting for up to an hour to fill their tanks. Most ATMs in Keezhaiyur, Keelvelur, Thalaignayiru and Vedaranyam blocks are not functioning because of the lack of electricity.
“Fuel prices have risen with bunks selling petrol for Rs 100 a litre. In the evenings, the price rises to Rs 120 and there is heavy demand due to fuel requirements of generators. Some petrol bunks do not show readings on their dispensers. This is worrying as we do not know if we are getting the required amount,” said L Gopalan, a resident of Vaaimedu near Vedaranyam.
Most eateries have shut down as they use grinders, for which power is needed smaller eateries are using coal and firewood to cook parottas and bandi stalls are serving food in Keezhaiyur block. “We have to go to town to buy flour packets. As we cannot refrigerate what we cook, we have to sell everything in a day. We charge Rs 5 extra for idli, Rs 10 extra for dosa, and Rs10 more for omelettes as because of the cyclone, we have extra expenses,” said K Selvi of Velankanni, Health services officials stated generators have been sent to primary health centres.
Two generators have been sent to the general hospital in Vedaranyam. Power supply to Nagapattinam Government Hospital has been restored.
Meanwhile, candles are being sold in some shops at higher prices, sometimes double the normal cost. Batteries, too, are retailing at prices much above the MRP in villages of Thalaignayiru block.
Candles selling at Rs 50 apiece
PUDUKKOTTAI: Restless, people stood in long lines outside a shop near the Pudukkottai bus stand to buy a few candles before it gets dark, as Pudukkottai went without power for the fifth day since the cyclone struck. Perhaps capitalising on the demand or unable to cater to demand, traders sold candles at Rs 50 a piece.
On the flip side, volunteers of Vidhaikalaam (Let’s Sow), a non-profit organisation, were seen distributing candles for free to public.
“We have a family five to six candles. Few of our contacts in Kanniyakumari sent over a thousand candles in the first batch. They were immediately distributed. Candles which normally cost Rs 5 are being sold anywhere between Rs 20 -50.” said D Balaji a member of Vidhaikalam. John Ezhumalai had no option than buy two candles for Rs100. “My house is surrounded by trees and now all of it is uprooted, which invites a lot of insects. We fear there may also be snakes. So until
we close the doors before bed, some source of lighting has to be there.”
Even drinking water was not spared. A 20-litre bubble top can was sold for Rs 60 in many places, which otherwise would be priced Rs 20. People with generators were lending them for `500 an hour, carrying
the machine on pick-up vehicles, and pumped water to tanks on rooftops. Though this was the case in the first two days, on Monday, many started charging Rs 1500 an hour.