A day of mourning for lakhs of people became a day of earning for some opportunistic vendors across the city, who took advantage of the shutdown to make a quick-buck from consumers desperate for goods or services.
With all prepaid booths at airport and railway terminals closed and few taxis and autos plying, several cabbies tried fleecing commuters by demanding exorbitant fares far exceeding the norm.
“I was asked for Rs. 3,000-4,000 to go from the domestic terminal at Santacruz to Seawoods in Navi Mumbai. So I chose to travel by a BEST bus that dropped me to Kurla station from where I boarded a train to Seawoods,” said Suree Sharna, 42.
Similarly, cabbies at railway terminals also quoted higher fares. “The regular fare to Vashi from Lokmanya Tilak Terminus is Rs. 300 to Rs. 350, but they were demanding Rs. 1,200 to Rs. 1,500. I took a train,” said Saurabh Bansal, a software engineer.
Vegetable vendors kept their businesses running on Sunday also upped their rates.
“Most vegetables vendors here were closed through the day, but one vegetable vendor that opened in the evening charged me much more than the usual cost,” said Ranjana Haldankar, 45, a Vasai resident. “He was demanding about Rs20 extra per kg for all vegetables. Bhindi (okra) was priced at Rs. 60 per kg instead of the usual Rs. 40 and tomatoes were priced higher too,” she said.
“When I bought milk today, I was charged Rs. 54 a litre, whereas it usually is Rs. 32. Even eggs were more expensive — I was charged about Rs. 2 extra per egg,” said Kalpana Muthu, 38, a Versova resident.