Tribune News Service
Ambala, May 12
The ongoing lockdown and the high-risk nature of their business have hit barbers and salon business hard.
People engaged in the business said even last year the business suffered heavy loss due to the lockdown and this year again they are out of work while most of the barbers living a hand-to-mouth existence.
Shahnawaj (25), who runs a barber shop in Ambala Cantonment, said, “After my father’s demise last year, I took the responsibility of the shop and I am the only bread earner of the family. Due to the lockdown, we are not able to open the shop while the expenses are the same. I have to pay the rent, salaries for three workers and bills for which I will be using my savings. We are getting calls from customers, but we are not able to open the shops.”
Riyasat, another barber, said, “I came here with my family from Bijnour in 1998 and since then I have been working here. The only relief for me is that I have my own shop. People are calling us at their residence, but it is not possible to go in such circumstances. Moreover, it is time-consuming. Under such circumstances, it is very difficult for us to run our livelihood. Some people are providing service at customer’s residence so that they could earn some money. The shops remain closed on Tuesday and even on Thursday and Saturday, we don’t get many customers. So the government should allow us to operate on the remaining days and also set the timings.”
Rajesh Kakran, who runs a salon, said “We understand that the government requires at least a time period of 15 days to break the chain but at the same time the government should also understand that keeping shops closed for so many days will disturb the financial condition. People who are running big salons can survive as they have backup but those who have been running small barber shops in colonies are struggling.”
Harish Kakran, president of the Barbers’ Association in Ambala, said, “The barber and salon business has suffered a huge loss due to the Covid pandemic. The shops and salons are being run in rented buildings and the expenses are almost the same. It will be great relief if the government allows us to start operations with limited working hours and reduced capacity. We are ready to take every precaution.”