Many people with disabilities in Bhaktapur district have been affected the most as a result of the prohibition order following the second wave of COVID-19.

They had depended on their small scale business to support themselves and families.

Kamala Adhikari, a visually impaired person, who has rented an apartment at Sanothimi in Madhyapur Thimi Municipality, is facing the brunt of the prohibition order.

Her business has been plagued by the pandemic.

She produces incense sticks and sells them in the market.

She has five family members, including an eight-year-old child to feed. Her father-in-law is a cancer patient and mother-in-law is suffering from asthma and diabetes. Her husband is also blind. She used to sell incense sticks in Koteshwor, New Road and Asan.

Dipak Singh, a visually impaired person, has a similar story to tell. Singh, who lives in Sanothimi, is finding it hard to support himself and his family without any income source. He also used to produce incense sticks and sell but his business has been hit hard due to the prohibition order.

Adhikari and Singh are only a few among the many disabled persons running small scale businesses that have been dented by the adverse impact of the pandemic. Many persons with disabilities in the area are finding it difficult to support themselves and their families without any income source.

There are around 26 families with disabilities who live in and around Sanothimi Campus.

Most of them depend on the business of producing and selling incense sticks for survival.

Deepak said visually impaired people were finding it hard to eke out a living as their source of income had been affected with the implementation of the prohibitory order.

" I fear hunger will kill us instead of the virus,'' he said, adding that all daily essentials, including cooking fuel and rice were already out of stock. " We have been begging for charity from some organisations for the past few days, but none has so far come forward to help us,'' he said.

Deepak added that the pandemic and the subsequent measures taken to control it had pushed people like him to great distress as they had no source of income to meet their daily needs.

On the one hand, they are struggling to manage two square meals, while on the other, they are clueless on how they can manage room rent.

Deepak's house owner has so far not demanded house rent, but he does not know what will be his response if he is asked for room rent.

Kamala said she used to earn up to Rs 500 each day by selling incense sticks and spend it on the survival of the family. "If the situation does not change, I will have no option to living on Rs 1,500 I get monthly as disability allowance."

Visually impaired people complain that their issues are the concerns of neither the local nor the central government.

A version of this article appears in the print on May 23, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.