COVID-19, other health issues take a toll on traders

30 businessmen die in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram in last two months

As many as 30 traders have lost their lives due to coronavirus and other health problems in the last two months in Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts. While more than 10 businessmen died of coronavirus and other ailments in Narasannapeta town of Srikakulam district, eight persons of the community in Srikakulam and 12 in Vizianagaram district lost their lives.

Lack of social distancing in market areas and currency transactions are said to be the main reasons for the spread of COVID-19. Many traders, who have been forced to open shops to meet their monthly expenses, rents, power bills and salaries of staff, have fallen prey to the virus. Big business houses need at least ₹2.5 lakh to meet their expenses. With the losses mounting every month, some owners are opening shops and becoming victims of coronavirus.

City Plaza owner Kandukuri Nanaji, Durga Textiles owner Bogi Mutyala Rao, P. Padma Rao, a wholesale dealer of essential commodities, Vaddi Mutyala Rao, a businessperson, died recently in Srikakulam district.

"The government has provided facilities to many COVID-19 patients for home isolation. But they are moving freely and spreading the disease. It is one of the main reasons for the spread of the disease in market areas. In spite of personal care, many traders lost their lives," said Perla Mahesh, co-treasurer of Srikakulam Chamber of Commerce.

With several traders succumbing to COVID-19 and other diseases in the last one month, others are afraid of opening shops in Narasannapeta which is one of the busiest business centers of Srikakulam district.

"The financially-hit traders are risking their lives to continue the business although transactions are not upto the mark," said Tangudu Janardhana Rao, a trader of Narasennapeta.

Denial of treatment

Several gold and cloth merchants have also contracted the coronavirus and four persons died recently in Vizianagaram. "Many hospitals are denying treatment for normal diseases in these times of coronavirus. It is one of the main reasons for the death of some traders in Vizianagaram," said N.V. Srinivasa Rao, president of Vizianagaram Gold Merchants’ Association.

In the backdrop of the COVID-19 threat, many shops are functioning only for two to three hours in the morning. A curfew-like situation is prevailing in the busiest trade centres from afternoon.

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