Cobblers and barbers who mostly make living on their earnings from daily wages are passing difficult time as general holiday period continues to be extended.
According a statistic there are nearly 15 lakh cobblers who are actively engaged in this profession whereas the number of barbers roughly stands at 25 lakh in the city.
The condition of this groups of people living in big cities like Dhaka is deplorable. Many of them while sharing their miseries said they are hardly able to survive literally without any earnings. Cooking three meals a day is now a far cry for many of their families.
“I now depend on food ration from the municipal authority,” said Russel Ahmed, a young man in his mis twenties who used to work at a barber shop in Zakir Hossain Road in Mohammadpur.
Many cobblers alleged that they haven’t received any sort of relief from the government or aid groups.
Abbas Ali, a cobbler from city’s Lalbagh, said, “I have a four-member family. All of my savings has been exhausted during the past few weeks. I have to pay my rent and buy food. Nobody, in the meantime, has come to help us. Tell us how would we survive?”
He appealed to the government to ease restrictions on low-income group of people so that they can continue to survive.
Another barber Mithu Mondol expressed his difficulties saying that he had to resort to begging to survive. “Relief is not so easy to get here these days. There are too many people for too little relief,” he lamented.
“We are neither poor nor rich. How would we live in this crisis without help? On one hand we have this fear of corona contamination. On the other hand, we have hunger. Where do we go in such situation? My humble request to the government to allow people like us to continue working to make our own living,” he said.
When the government declared a general holiday on March 26 to contain the spread of coronavirus, the country became virtually paralyzed. As a result, like many sections of people of the society the cobblers and barbers are also victims of the situation.
Economist and Professor Zahidur Rahman talking to Bangladesh Post said, “It’s true barbers, cobblers, street vendors, contractual construction workers and many low-income day to day earners are suffering due to the covid-19 crisis. Yes, numbers of infections are rising but, in the meantime, we have to mull over health and economy.”