Barbers demand resumption of their businesses


Barbers and operators of hairdressing salons staged protests in Kathmandu valley today, demanding that they be allowed to operate their businesses.

Joint Barbers’ Struggle Committee comprising barbers associations aligned to various political parties today staged a rally from Patan of Lalitpur to Maitighar. Many other barbers also representing the struggle committee staged demonstrations at different places like Balaju and Koteshwor.

The barbers have demanded that the government should address their key demands, which they had forwarded to the Office of Prime Minister on June 25. They had asked the government to insure hairdressers worth Rs 50 lakh, provide them with Personal Protective Equipment, sanitisers and other necessary amenities to operate their businesses.

They have also asked to support them with bank loans. Hairdressing is one of the most hit small scale businesses in the valley after the government introduced its first lockdown on March 24, in a bid to subdue the spread of coronavirus.

Since then, the government has not shown any interest in addressing the issues of hairdressers. Barbers in Kathmandu have been facing hardship due to months-long lockdown.

After the lockdown, some barbers had opened their saloons but were forced to shut down the business due to restrictions imposed by local governments.

Mahesh Thakur, a saloon owner at Gatthaghar said they were seriously hit by the lockdown. “Most of us come from very poor families. We don’t have enough land for farming and thus life back in the village is much harder than here,” Thakur said. He said that if the government could only provide them PPEs, clients would feel comfortable to visit them and their jobs could be saved.

Valley’s district administration offices have removed most of the restrictions on businesses. But, saloons have not been allowed to operate.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on September 16, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.