In the southern suburbs and other rain-affected areas, the residents had to shell out up to Rs 2,000 per person for three hours of work. Cleaning companies in the city also witnessed a spate of calls asking for help to bring their rain-ravaged houses back to normalcy.
V Bharat Kumar, operations manager at GEM facility management services, said, “A couple of days ago you could get a person to clean a house for Rs 600 plus food. But now, with the increasing demand, a number of young men from Semancherry, Kannaginagar and Thoraipakkam are charging Rs 2,500 per house.” Plumbers too are in demand as taps and pipes in waterlogged houses needed to be replaced or repaired, he said.
Some enterprising folks have turned contractors, putting harrowed residents in touch with cleaners and plumbers. M Arumugam, a tailor in Nungambakkam, who is the point of contact for plumbers and cleaners in Lake Area, Pushpa Nagar and Susaipuram, said “It’s a hard job and the stench is unbearable since rain water has mixed with sewerage water. We charge Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000.”
Technology has also come to the aid of residents and a number of people are booking cleaning services online.
It was a common sight in water logged areas to see residents asking road side shop keepers and others if they knew any cleaners. V Manickam, a cleaner in Chetpet, said “We are at the mercy of the men who are the point of contact as they are the ones in touch on their mobile phones with customers. They take away Rs 500 from each man tasked with cleaning a house and make sure the entire house is spic and span with no stench emanating.”