Express press service
CHENNAI: Shankaran Y was a happy man before this lockdown. He owned a small roadside tiffin shop in Madipakkam and earned 15,000 rupees a month, which was enough to support a family of four. It was already struggling with poor sales due to Covid and rising commodity prices, but somehow managed to stay afloat. However, the lockdown changed everything.
With no other source of income, Shankaran started selling vegetables last week. But that too was not profitable for him. “I spent my whole life making soft idlis and I didn’t know anything about the vegetable business. Out of desperation, I tried my luck but suffered losses. Last year, during the lockdown, I suffered huge losses and survived with my savings.
But for this year’s lockdown, I wasn’t prepared at all, ”said Shankaran, 42. “I don’t know how I will feed my family.” He said his business started to flourish from January of this year and customers were back enjoying his mellow idlis, but all his happiness was short-lived. The plight of hundreds of street vendors across the city is similar.
With the Covid outbreak, sales have plummeted and with the lockdown in effect, there is uncertainty as to whether their stores will open. With no relief in sight, many have changed professions. Young people have become delivery people while many are trying their hand at small businesses.
But a majority of them are driven into poverty. “Big hotels and restaurants can get through Swiggy and Zomato, but we can’t do the same. We’re not that tech savvy, nor do we have that many resources, ”said Krishnan V, another vendor.