Barbers and beauticians in Kozhikode seek financial help to tide over COVID crisis

‘They are finding it hard to pay power bills, rents for their shops, houses’

Barbers and beauticians in Kozhikode district have sought a long-term loan of ₹50,000 to tide over the financial crisis created by COVID-19 in the past one-and-a-half years.

According to G. Chandran, district president, Kerala State Barber-Beauticians’ Association, the members were finding it hard to pay power bills and rent for their shops and houses as they do not have business these days. The worst-hit are the women running beauty parlours as there are very few weddings and private events. He urged the State government to write off the bills. He also sought a financial package or an interest-free loan from banks and other institutions in the cooperative sector.

Those who had taken loans from scheduled or nationalised banks should be given relaxation in repayment and the interest rates should be reduced. The government should also include the sector in the ₹20,000-crore package announced in the State Budget. Mr. Chandran said they were yet to get the ₹1,000 financial help declared by the State.

The association functionaries alleged that the District Collector, Health officials, and sectoral magistrates were not allowing beauty parlours and salons to function despite showing government orders. Some of them were being asked to cough up fines as well. The government should allow those units in areas with a low test positivity rate, they said.

Though the Health Minister had announced that barbers and beauticians would be vaccinated as a priority group, they were yet to get the jab. Local bodies should be asked to provide bleaching powder, surgical gloves, and sanitisers for free. Mr. Chandran said the government should include barbers and beauticians as a priority group while distributing goods under the public distribution system.

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