The power crisis in several parts of the city in the aftermath of Cyclone Amphan has triggered a scramble for emergency lights and torches across the city.
An electrical appliance store along Rajarhat Main Road that had been closing by 5:30pm because of the lockdown is now open till 7pm and struggling to meet the demand for emergency lights.
Most of Rajarhat, Baguiati, Rajpur-Sonarpur and Behala are still without electricity or facing frequent power cuts.
Several residents The Telegraph spoke to said that they had bought emergency lights and torches at a premium and even candles were in short supply.
Swapan Mukhopadhyay, 56, a Behala resident, said he bought a “non-branded” rechargeable emergency light for Rs 650. “We still don’t have electricity at home and we have no idea how many more days we will have to live in darkness. I bought this emergency light for Rs 650, which is quite costly.”
One of his neighbours has a generator set and he has been helping people by letting them recharge their phones and emergency lights in his home, Mukhopadhyay said.
In Rajarhat, too, several shops have been selling non-branded rechargeable emergency lights at anything between Rs 500 and Rs 1,000.
Shekhar Das, who owns Das Electric on Rajarhat Main Road, said he had finished his stock of branded rechargeable emergency lights and torches on Sunday. “I have some Chinese ones left and they work just fine.”
Alok Bhattacharya, who lives in Rajarhat, said he had bought a couple of emergency lights with solar panels for Rs 1,500. “The shopkeeper charged the person right after me Rs 850 for a single piece. They are charging whatever they feel like.”
Tariq Ahmed, another shopkeeper in New Town, said they had no option but to charge more. “There is no one to bring us the items from Chandni Chowk or Ezra Street because of the lockdown. I am going to these places on my scooter to fetch the lights.”
A New Town resident said buying these online was not an option now because of the delivery time.
Candles, too, are being sold at a premium. A New Town grocer said he had nothing left; his entire stock had been sold.