By V. Jagannathan
CHENNAI– The floods in Chennai and its suburbs which have put millions into misery also showed the good, bad and the ugly sides of people and organisations.
On the positive side, several individuals opened up their residences to strangers caught in the floods and provided food and shelter.
Without waiting for the official agencies, many individuals started offering food to the flood hit and also provided whatever they could — biscuits, blankets and more.
Those who had access to the internet posted messages on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter about stranded people so that help could reach them.
There were — and are — unscrupulous traders who jacked up the prices of milk, eggs and vegetables. But there are those who stuck to honest trading practice.
“We sell milk and other essential items at normal rates. We have not jacked up the prices. In fact I donated cooked food to the flood hit which cost me Rs.60,000,” Muthu, owner of Angalaparameswari Stores, a provision store in Mylapore in south Chennai, told IANS.
Voluntary organisations and others gave away food and biscuit packets near water- logged areas.
On the bad side, apart from traders who jacked up prices of essential commodities, autorickshaw and taxi drivers fleeced people even for plying short distances.
“Why blame the auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers? Look at private airlines. They ripped off passengers by charging sky high rates to fly people out of Bengaluru to Delhi,” T.E.N. Simhan, a private sector employee, told IANS.
“Is it not an irony when even common people are contributing their bit to the flood affected, airlines took advantage of people’s distress,” he asked.
With Chennai Airport closed for days due to flooding of the runway, many people from other places reached Bengaluru to fly out to their destinations.
Surinder Singh of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) told IANS that he paid a whopping Rs.25,600 to a private airline to fly to Delhi out of Bengaluru.
According to reports, vandals are breaking into locked houses in flood hit areas in Chennai and swimming away with valuables.