The damage caused by Thursday's Dombivli blasts has given carpenters and glass shop owners a steady business, but they refuse to overcharge
After Thursday's explosion in the Probace Enterprises' chemical factory, the streets of the suburb's MIDC Phase II area are littered with glass. Ironically, the same area is now facing a shortage of glass, as more than 500 homes have suffered damage to their window panes and other glass products.
Stores selling glass in the area are now maintaining a waiting list. Calls to carpenters and masons have risen too. However, the silver lining here is that neither the shopkeepers nor the carpenters have hiked their prices. They claim they are ready to work for less money as everyone is in trouble.
Saheblal Yadav of Mahesh Glass House, one of the biggest shops in the vicinity, claims that since Thursday evening, numerous affected residents have contacted him, asking him to cater to them first. "The demand is huge and anyone who comes to meet me is asking for glass. If it's available at the store, I give it to them. To those I cannot cater to right away, I ask them to come later. It will take me three to four days to merely calculate the demand, after which the supplies can be made," said Yadav.
Dinesh Chauhan, carpenter
Manoj Gupta of Supriya Glass House said, "Despite being close to the blasts site, most of my glass is safe. Four buildings close to my shop have already asked me to give them glass. Hence, I have made a waiting list and will inform them when the glass is ready," said Gupta.
Meanwhile, carpenters say they are catering to their regular customers first. "The phone won't stop ringing, but I cannot entertain everyone. So, I decided to answer my regular customers first and fix their windows. Only then, will I take other calls," said Dinesh Chauhan, a carpenter working at one of the affected homes.
Mahesh Glass House, one of the largest glass shops in the vicinity to fix their homes
Raju Haldankar, another carpenter says, "We are charging our regular price. We cannot over charge despite the demand, because this is not the time to do such things. Everyone is affected and we are helping each other."
Residents count their losses
As for the affected residents, they are busy counting their losses. At Daksha Patel's home, all the windows, including the glass panes in the bathroom, have been damaged by the blasts.
A damaged window in local Daksha Patel’s home. The blasts shattered all the windows in her house
"I went to a shop nearby and told them that I need glass on urgent basis. But even the shopkeeper couldn't help, as there were lots of people there demanding the same thing. I gave him my address and number and he said they will send someone within three to four days," she said.
Another resident, Rs S Pathare, can't even find a mason or carpenter to mend his windows. "I have been searching since yesterday, but still haven't found a carpenter who can help me fix the windows. Luckily, we have a grill. Else, things would have been worse as I stay on the ground floor," said Pathare.
Santosh Dixit, who, too, stays on the ground floor, got lucky. He called his regular carpenter to immediately to fix the windows. "I called my carpenter. But on the night of the blasts, we had to cover the windows with clothes and paper. Finally, my carpenter showed up and now he's fixing the windows," said Dixit.
Srinivas Nathan, another resident, said, "Only one window broke in my home. When I asked the local glass vendor, he said I will have to wait. Temporarily, we have used a cardboard to cover the window. I have now taken the measurement of the window, and will procure the glass from Andheri."
I am so busy that I haven’t been able to count the number of customers. But, I have not increased the rate because of the demand. It will take at least 15 days to meet most of the demands. -Saheblal Yadav Owner, Mahesh Glass House
Now, I have more than 100 people as customers. Even the earnings have gone up by more than 50%. To cater to everyone affected here, it will take us more than a month. -Manoj Gupta Owner, Supriya Glass House
The price of glass depends on the size and quality. Vendor Saheblal Yadav says glasses are available from R500 to Rs 12,000 and above. According to carpenter Dinesh Chauhan, fixing of glasses and windows depends on the size of the window. His charges vary from Rs 150 for a small window pane to Rs 1,500 for larger windows.