Coal town cosmetic shop owners demand reopening
More than 500 cosmetic shop owners facing a difficult time during the pandemic due to lockdown curbs are demanding permission to reopen their shops for two days on June 7 and 8 ahead of Vat Savitri festival scheduled on June 10.
The preparations for the festival will begin on June 9 with Nahay Khay, a ritual ahead of the main festival on June 10.
Vat Savitri is one of the most auspicious festivals celebrated by married Hindu women, during which they fast for a day seeking the blessing of god for the well being of their husband. The devout women wear new clothes and congregate around the banyan tree of their vicinity where after performing puja of the tree they also tie a ceremonial thread around the tree as a mark of their love for their husband.
Talking to The Telegraph Online, Hiralal Sao, owner of a cosmetic shop at park market Hirapur said, “We are one of the worst victims of the pandemic as all our major income opportunities including the marriage season have passed without any profit for us due to the lockdown.”
“Vat Savitri is the last opportunity of this season for some income to somehow sustain our life and we were expecting reopening permission for us also while the government initiated the process of unlock but unfortunately out expectation were belied as we were denied permission,” said Sao who is operating his retail outlet for the last 30 years.
“We requested the government and local district administration through Hirapur Chamber of Commerce to allow us to reopen shops at least for two days ahead of Vat Savitri festival as we are receiving a lot of calls from our customers seeking queries whether there is any possibility of opening of shops,” said Sao.
“The pandemic has not only affected our own income but also the job prospects of sales girls of some of reputed cosmetic brands working at our outlet,” said Sao.
Echoing his sentiments, Sanjay Kumar Sao, another cosmetic retailer of Park Market in Jharia who also demanded shop reopening for two days said, “We have been operating our shop since last 20 years but never faced a condition like we faced since the first phase of the lockdown."
Sanjay said those who have launched their shops by taking loans are facing more difficulty due to the financial burden of payment of EMIs.
He also pointed to the dichotomy in the administration's order and said while there is no restriction on grocery shop owners selling cosmetic products, only the cosmetic sellers have been denied permission for reopening.