Landslide offers business opportunities to petty traders
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, August 13: The landslide on NH-39 at a place in between Mao and Tadubi, which have stranded over 200 trucks for the last couple of days, may be a nightmarish experience for the truck drivers and their assistants but to a number of enterprising traders living in the vicinity of the landslide, it is an opportunity to make some quick money.

Enterprising small time traders sensing the opportunity to make some money out of the situation have set up make shift shops along the route and a number of such shops can he seen along the route, as all one needs is a broad plastic sheet to keep out the rain and offer some respite from the Sun when it doesn't rain.

At least 15/20 such makes shift stalls are doing brisk business at the site of the landslide.

And the truckers and drivers and their assistants have a lot to be thankful to the enterprising traders for selling their wares.

Normally drivers and their assistants carry the bare necessities with them but as their stock has run out (some of the trucks have been stranded for well over four/five days) their daily supply is being met by the traders.

Cigarettes, khaini, pan, light snacks including biscuit, bread hard boiled eggs, mineral water, tea to a hot meal are available at these make shift shops.

Of course these shops sell the goods at a premium with a one litre mineral bottle costing Rs 20 while a hot cup of tea will set you back by Rs 5 as also one hard boiled egg.

Of course no one complains.

The traders disclosed that the sale proceeds of a single day touch the Rs 1000 mark.

Strongly reminiscent of a railway station, small boys and girls in groups of two or three can be seen going around with a thermo flask, glasses and a bucket of water, chanting "Chai, chai, garam chai".

These small chai boys and girls notch up anything upward of Rs 100 as sale proceeds in a day.

They struggle to converse with those stranded in a mixture of Hindi, Manipuri and yes English.

Boys from Mao side in fancy cycles come to the spot with bags slung over their shoulders hawking cigarettes and other goods.

Other than this, taxi operators have also jumped into the 'landslide business'.

Passengers bound for Dimapur or other destinations are picked up from the spot and ferried upto Mao while those proceeding towards Imphal are dropped at Tadubi.

The taxi operators charge a cool Rs 10 per head for the 5 km distance on either side of the 'divide'.

Able bodied young men have also taken the opportunity to utilize their muscles in a different way as porters, carrying the luggage of wearied passengers.

The temporary porters charge Rs 10 per to carry one luggage across the damaged portion which is about 100 metres.

Stranded passengers and truck drivers and their assistants are not suffering from want of anything as the people nearby have made sure that everything needed is available, of course at a price.