People making quick buck from essential services

Canny operators in cyclone Thane devastated Cuddalore district have hit on novel ways to make money.

Cuddalore (TN): Canny operators in cyclone Thane
devastated Cuddalore district have hit on novel ways to make
money, asking for exorbitant rates to bring in generators to
fill water tanks and charging steeply to charge mobile phones.

"It`s very difficult to get generators to fill water tanks.
Generator suppliers charge Rs 300 to Rs 500 to give them to
us. They bring along a generator that makes your pump work
and store water. People want water for cooking," Satish, a
medical professional said.

Power, cut off in the district a day before the 120 km
cyclone struck on Dec 30, uprooting trees and damaging
transformers, has still not been restored in many areas.

"Since there is no power for the last four days,we cannot
store groundwater in tanks. We have run out of water.Though
the municipality is undertaking relief operations, our woes
remain as there are not enough staff," he said.
Another bunch of people have hit on preying on desperate
customers seeking to contact relatives and friends, demanding
Rs 10 to charge their mobile phones.

"They have started operations like in Chennai Central and
Egmore railway stations. We have to somehow get cellphones
charged since half the work we do daily is through phones. And
almost 99 per cent of landline connections in the district are
out of service since December 30," Satish said.

Tamil Nadu Electricity Board sources said that power, which
was turned of on Dec 29 night, is likely to be restored in the
main areas in Cuddalore town by this evening, but that it
would take another two to three days in peripheral areas.

Satish said people now realised the importance of the media
and recalled hearing rumours yesterday about an earthquake
striking the coast, which he later clarified through a friend
had struck Japan.
"Even for knowing when we will get back electricity and
milk and water supply, we rely on TVs and radio channels.Due
to power being cut, we can`t even know that," Ganapathy, a
driver of a state transport corporation bus said.

"I wish 2012 does not bring such things again to Cuddalore.
We celebrated new year in candlelight and have dinner in
candle light. Electricity is what we need first," said
Arumugam, an auto driver.


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