Prasad Kulkarni, once a renowned magician, was forced to start a fast food stall for survival last year after his business was severely affected by the lockdown. However, the fresh lockdown announced in the state of Maharashtra in view of the sudden surge in cases has wreaked havoc in the lives of small business owners, especially the ones in the eatery business.
Prasad Kulkarni in an emotional and explicit video shared by Lokmat on its Facebook page narrated that the ever-changing rules by the government has made it difficult for him to sustain his fast-food stall in the city of Pune. While not against the measures taken to curb the rise in fresh Covid-19 cases, Kulkarni appealed that the government should give serious thought before taking an impulsive decision of lockdown.
He said that the eateries complied with the delivery rule by the government despite a clear possibility of heavy revenue loss. However, he said that the government then released a new directive to stop deliveries post 8 pm, and now the two new regulations imposed by the government forced him to make a video on the condition of small-time business owners like him.
He said that eateries are being forced to deliver only through food delivery platforms like Zomato and Swiggy. Takeaways have been restricted by the police and now the government has asked all the eateries to shut after 6 pm.
Kulkarni revealed that from being a magician to selling a vada pav worth Rs 10 for survival, he supported the government in every fight against the pandemic. But now it is getting difficult for them to survive in the fresh lockdown imposed as the sales in the stipulated time is not enough to keep the business afloat.
He informed that he has to pay a rent of Rs 40,000 monthly rent for the shop and keep aside Rs 4000 regularly for the salaries of his staff. He questions the government how he would recover the expenditure with deliveries only that too with limited hours of functioning. It is imperative to note that eateries can function only on weekdays as the state government has imposed a complete lockdown on weekends till the end of this month.
Kulkarni in his video urges the government to give small-time business owners like him poison instead. He states while they survived and accepted the first lockdown considering the uncertainty of the virus, the second lockdown he suggests is mindless and will result in more deaths due to hunger than the virus.
He brought to the notice of the viewers that there are many students in Pune who are dependent on food outlets for their daily meals and such regulations will add to their misery as well. At the end of the video, Kulkarni with a heavy heart announced the closure of his famous Kulkarni vada pav stall.
The restaurant industry which was just getting back on its feet after suffering heavy losses in the last lockdown is expected to take a bad hit again. The Maharashtra government, on Sunday late night, announced the imposition of weekend lockdown and night curfew despite being warned by the Centre.
The Centre in a high-level meeting had made it clear to the Maharashtra government almost two weeks back that weekend lockdowns and night curfews have limited impact on containing and suppressing transmission of the coronavirus and that the state should look for alternate robust measures.