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After rains, residents now battle scarcity of essential commodities

More than fighting the woes that rained from the sky, the worst faced by the Chennaiites was the purchase of essentials like milk, vegetables and packaged water as some heartless traders took advantage of helpless citizens by selling the products at five or six times higher than their regular price

After rains, residents now battle scarcity of essential commodities
Volunteers distribute food packets to residents at the Palavakkam Govt School


Residents across the city will not forget the first few days of this month in their lifetime as it literally taught them how to survive under the toughest conditions as roads were flooded, power supply off, phones dead, net connectivity lost, above all acute shortage of essential commodities like water, milk, veggies, etc. 

Adding to the rain of woes, the fleecing by vendors offered the worst experience for the people. Some merciless traders turning the situation to their advantage and jacked up the prices of the essential commodities. In most localities, just a half-litre sachet of milk was sold between Rs 140 and Rs 160 and milk powder packets were given to customers at over Rs 130, which is two times higher than the original price. 

Water scarcity 

Similarly, 25-litre water cans touched up to Rs 100 and that too without any guarantee for supply from the shopkeepers. “Leave alone the cans, a packet of water, which is generally priced at Rs 2, was sold for Rs 20. Can you believe it,” says Raghu, a tailor in Nanganallur. 

The situation in vegetable shops was no different. Regular veggies like tomato, potato, onions, carrot, beans etc., were sold at over Rs 75/kg. On Thursday and Friday, the rates crossed the three-figure mark of Rs 100 in some places. Daya Gopalan, a private company employee, said, “you can’t even stock them because there is no power supply to keep the refrigerators running.” 

Anuradha, a home-maker from Mudichur, says, “managing water at home for washing and cleaning purposes proved to be a big challenge as motors could not be operated to fill the overhead tanks due to stoppage of electricity.” 

Another major blow for the city was that many gas stations started running out of stock from Thursday and the situation turned from bad to worse on Friday with most outlets being shut. 

Oil companies attributed it to “logistic problems”. Since most of the places across Chennai and its suburbs have been cut off due to heavy rain, oil tankers were unable to transport fuel, according to Indian Oil Corporation officials. 

Absence of tanker drivers has compounded the problem for all the oil companies. We have enough stocks and they will be despatched once rain water recedes in the affected areas,” an IOCL spokesperson told PTI.


  • Even after rains are over, life crippled in city. 
  • No indication of power resumption in many areas. 
  • Vending machines inactive in most pockets. 
  • ATMs run empty across the city. 
  • No stocks of candles and mosquito coils. 
  • Hospitals face the worst due to powercuts affecting life support systems. 
  • Severe shortage of essentials like packaged water, bread, milk and fuel. 
  • Lack of supplies hit hotels and houses.

Aavin has these helplines for the public to buy milk without hassle: 98403-87510/ 98409-07494/94439-44908

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