Cyclone Vardah empties Chennai’s streets, but some commuters have no choice

Some daily wage workers and small shopkeepers said they had no choice but to work for as long as they could on Monday.
Cyclone Vardah empties Chennai’s streets, but some commuters have no choice
Cyclone Vardah empties Chennai’s streets, but some commuters have no choice
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With cyclone Vardah expected to make landfall in Chennai today, intense rains and heavy winds have been predicted. The government has issued an advisory asking people to stay indoors and stock up on supplies among other precautions.

The News Minute asked residents of the city who were out of doors on Monday morning for their reactions to the news. While some seemed to be unaware about the cyclone, others expressed their helplessness about going out into the city:

"The bus service is fine. I'm going back to Dhandeswaram from work. I have not seen the news so do not know about the cyclone," said Sathish Raja, 24, working in Kananchaveedi.

Ganesh, 40, who runs a teashop in Velachery, on the other hand, knew about the cyclone but said he had no choice but to work on Monday morning. "I'm scared about the cyclone but I do not have any money in hand. But I will be shutting the shop in a while," he said.

Many other commuters had similar concerns. "I'm travelling from Saidapet to Velachery. I work as a painter in a private company. I'm a daily wage worker. I cannot take a leave.  I'm scared but cannot do anything about it," said Lakshmi, 32.

Chandra, 27, working in a private company, said that since his workplace had not declared a holiday, he had to go to work. "My office is open, so I have to go to Saidapet from Velachery. If there is a cyclone I will be staying back in office. The bus service is frequent. After 12, I do not know how it will be." 

Krishna, 32, has reached office somehow but now has to return. "I reached office by 9 am in Anna my office has asked me to go back. I stay in Mettupalayam. I'm scared of cyclone. It will take 45 mins to return home. I work in a private bank in Anna Salai," he said.
There are others like him. "We work here at Madras Diabetes Research Foundation. We did not know it is a holiday today. A lot of trees are falling in this area...we don't know how we will return home. We live in Kolathur," said Gajalakshmi and Shivkami.
"I came to drop school children in my auto in the morning. But came to know the school is shut. After that, my auto stopped and I'm stuck here. Many trees are falling and there's very heavy wind. Have to take a bus and reach home somehow," said Vadivel, 28, an autodriver in Royapettah.
"We have kept the shop open from 9 in the morning. The situation has been bad here. We will be shutting the shop and going home soon," said Murugan, a shopkeeper in the same area.

“We have kept the shop open due to the Maha Deepam festival. And also, because we have ayurvedic medicines with us,” said Vimal, 32, a shopkeeper.


Manoharan, 48, from Mylapore also said that they were working because they had to provide flowers for the temple festival.  

“I arrived in the morning but no one came to fill cash. I stay in Velachery. Now I don't know how to go back. Such strong winds and heavy rain. It is difficult to get out of here,” Ram Manmohan, 61, a security guard at an ATM in Jafferkhanpet said.                       

Many bus stops in the city did not have the usual rush, but some commuters could be spotted.

Many prominent Chennai roads, however showed far less traffic than usual. Anna Salai, one of Chennai's arterial roads, is usually chockablock with traffic in the morning hours, but had only a few vehicles on Monday.  

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