‘Life will never be the same’

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Common people weigh in on the impact of lockdown on their lives

Kathmandu

The nationwide lockdown that came into effect on March 24 was sudden yet an appreciable decision taken by the government to control the spread of COVID-19. The government has been extending the lockdown, the most recent being on April 26 — it has been extended for 10 more days. With people staying inside homes for over a month, many anticipated the lockdown to be more relaxed after April 27. However, a complete lockdown has been put in place till May 7. And how have people taken this? Rajkumar Sah,17, a resident of Kalopool, is a SEE appearing student.

Though he is using the lockdown to revise notes, he is worried the education system won’t be the same. “I think there won’t be an environment where we will learn with fun.

There will be tension and worries all around.” And the long lockdown is making “me crazy. I can’t event focus. I hope this ends soon and everything becomes alright”.

Meanwhile aspiring entrepreneur Ashim Dawadi, 27 has a different problem.

The Sinamangal resident had plans to invest a huge capital in a business project but the lockdown has halted his plans.

“Now the situation isn’t the same and investing is a tough decision. I am rethinking the plan because the economy is damaged.

The remittance is sure to decline, which will affect the flow of money in the market,” he points out.

“Only businesses with basic-need-fulfilling-products are going to survive.”

And as his mushroom business has been adversely affected due to low demand, he seeks “governmental support in a way which would at least cover some losses”. In a worried tone he says, “Life isn’t going to be the same after lockdown.”

The need to manage funds to pay rent, children’s tuition fee and sustaining business worries Bhaba Maya Karki, 44. The resident of Tilganga, who runs a middle-range restaurant, says, “I had no idea the situation would be like this. I thought it (lockdown) will be just for a few days. I wasn’t prepared.

I have loans too. I don’t know how I will address all those.” Due to shortage of money, Karki took a loan of Rs 15,000 from her son’s friend to fulfil her family’s needs. “It was embarrassing but I had to. I am waiting for this lockdown to end.”

She also wants the authorities concerned “to provide us with some relief such as low bank interest rate for some time — it would be really helpful”.

Similar is the situation of Kapan-resident Sita KC, 51. Her family’s only source of income was a metal workshop “which has remained shut due to the lockdown”. They used all their savings to send their children abroad. As such KC and her husband are now dependent on neighbours and relatives for household expenses.

What’s haunting KC even more is the home loan. “I have taken a huge loan to build my house and every month I have to pay the instalment of interest.

And with no income, the instalments are getting piled up and I don’t know how we are going to pay.” She requests the government “to bring out a plan to help reduce the interest rate or reschedule the payment date”.

Meanwhile some are trying to adapt to the situation.

Take for instance 37-yearold Ravi Yadav, a mechanic by profession. He has now started selling vegetables right in front of his garage at Gaushala. “It was getting difficult to feed my family. So I opted to sell vegetables and it has helped us earn money for our daily survival.”

He added, “Life is difficult and I am desperately waiting for this lockdown to end, so I can be back at my work and earn.”


A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 3, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.



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