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VIDEO

Everybody loves a good cyclone

Friday, 30th December 2016

R Chitra
Vardah dragged Chennai and its neighbouring districts to their knees. Short of total demolition, the ‘very severe cyclonic storm’ did maximum damage. But, luckily, human casualties were contained due to the government’s continuous message to wait out the cyclone inside safe places.

While the cyclone made landfall on 12 December, there were many in Chennai who made a killing on the day and the days following it.

Cab drivers themselves said they risked their life and limb on the day because that is the day ‘we can charge double and earn more’ - authentic cab driver statement.
One particular cab driver said he charged Rs 500 for a trip that would cost Rs 200. People stranded on the road and near railway stations - as bus and train services were suspended - pleaded with cabs to drop them home. "One woman who was pleading with me to drop her at Ambattur, said she would pay any amount for the trip," chuckled a driver a couple of days after the incident.

But it was the woodcutters and EB people who reaped rich. On a street in Kodambakkam, a huge tree had fallen on the compound wall of a house, dragging the overhead power lines with it. The EB people asked the house-owner to pay Rs 6,000 to clear the tree and restore power to the whole street. When the house-owner said he wouldn’t pay a paisa more than Rs 100, the ‘powerful’ people merely walked away.

After a lot of discussions among the residents of the street, it was collectively decided that everyone would chip in as they were desperate for the restoration of electricity. It was only after the amount was paid did the woodcutters put powersaw to the tree branches.

This is peanuts compared to the amount paid by a friend to clear a massive tree that completely blocked their dead-end lane in the Eldams Road area. Guess how much I paid to remove the tree, she asked. Without thinking hard, I said Rs 5,000. Wrong, she said. "We paid Rs 50,000 - Rs 10,000 per house - to get the tree cleared." Landfall leads to windfall for some.

(Follow us on Twitter @NTChennai, FB page News Today)

 

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