TIRUCHY: Carpenters sitting on roadsides making benches, tables and other furniture are a common sight in Marakkadai. For many in Tiruchy, Marakkadai is the go-to destination to pick up affordable furniture. However, the ongoing lockdown has wreaked havoc on the lives of several poor carpenters who keep their stocks on roads. Without any other option, many of these carpenters are living on the streets to protect their creations.
It may not be easy for someone to steal furniture since police are strictly monitoring vehicles at various places. Carpenters, however, do not want to take any chances. "Normally, we will buy wood from traders in Marakkadai and make tables, chairs and other furniture. These are kept on roadsides for people to buy. We did not expect a 21-day lockdown or we would have found some place to keep the furniture. As Marakkadai is near Gandhi Market, we cannot take any chances. Trucks regularly come to the market. Should someone decide to load furniture on these trucks and make off with them, we would never be able to trace them," said Abdul Rasheed, a carpenter.
Normally, one or two carpenters stay in the shops to keep an eye on the furniture. Now, three or four are staying in this area round the clock to ensure the safety of their goods. "Some of us are staying on roadsides. Whenever we go home, some other carpenter or trader will come and keep an eye on our furniture.
Earlier, we used to worry only about theft at night. Now, it can happen during the day due to the lockdown. We made plenty of furniture expecting good sales this holiday season. Now, we may have to sell at a cheap rate after the lockdown. Even if someone stole our furniture, we cannot file a complaint as they have been kept in the open," said a carpenter. situation.
There are 36 furniture shops in Marakkadi, most of which have not done any business for the last two weeks. Now, many traders are also worried about wooden windows and doors kept outside shops. "Normally, there are many marriages and other family functions during the summer holidays. People would come here to buy furniture. For the last two weeks, we are not getting any business. Even if the lockdown ends on April 14, there would be various regulations in place.
Several people may also postpone their family functions. It is unlikely we would get any business for the next three or four months," said S Sundaram, a trader.
Many workers in Marakkadi are now worried about their future. "Our families are able to survive because of the rations and money offered by the State government. Otherwise, we would not even have money to buy food, but this assistance would be there only for a few weeks. We do not know whether business would pick up after one or two months and many of us are worried about our plight," said Sivakumar, a carpenter.