Hyderabad: It is past noon and Mohd Rauf sits in his mobile shop, hoping against hope that some customers may drop in. The despondent atmosphere is not just confined to his store. It is the same in several shops at Anjaiah Nagar and Siddiqinagar. The sudden exodus of the people from the North East has had an adverse effect on the fortunes of many in these areas.
And, claims by political parties that the North East people have returned to the city, are just not true. Ask the few Assamese who have stayed back, pat comes the reply: “They might return in mid-September.” They are still not sure of their safety in the twin cities and want to wait for a few more weeks. Deb Cethia from Assam, who has refused to take the train back home, said, “I stayed back to see what the noise was all about and if the rumours were true. In fact, I learnt that some of those who left were pushed out of trains,” said Deb Cethia who works as a security guard in Gachibowli.
His brother Dipankar Cethia, who also works as a security guard, felt there was no problem in the city in the first place. “Our companies promised us accommodation and the police assured us of our safety,” he said. The brothers said their friends might return after two weeks. “We spoke to some of them, and they said they will be arriving after September 15,” said Deb.
The sudden exodus of the people from the North East has had an adverse effect on the fortunes of many in the city.
In the meantime, local traders and landlords are praying for their return. “I have never been this idle in my shop. Ever since the north-easterners left this place, I am free most of the time. In fact, I used to sell two quintals of chicken daily, now I barely sell 80 kg a day,” said Laxman Harini, who owns Azam chicken shop at Anjaiahnagar. Mohd Rauf too has suffered losses. His mobile business which used to fetch him Rs 3000 on an average everyday, has now come down to Rs 1000. “It has been like this for the last two weeks. 90% of my customers were workers from Assam and other states,” he said.
The house owners too are a worried lot. Many ‘to-let’ boards are hanging in front of their empty houses. R. Lakshmamma, who had more than 25 tenants in her eight rooms in Anjaiah Nagar, said the exodus had cost her Rs 16,000 in the form of rents. “All of their belongings are still here. They were so fearful that they just left without even thinking twice,” said her husband R. Buchaiah.