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COVID-19 nips life out of them at famed Kovalam beach


Thiruvananthapuram: Life has always been tough for them and when Covid-19 struck, it came as a double blow - as numerous people eking out a living at the famed beaches in and around Kovalam has been driven to very tough times.

Among those who are waiting for better times to return include life guards, small time vendors selling groundnuts, tender coconut and other small bites on the sandy beaches.

The life guards who are posted in the beaches are on daily wages and even with two weeks into April, they are yet to be paid for March.

Across Kerala there are 275 lifeguards always alert waiting to save the lives of those who struggle when the sea gets rough.

They are paid Rs 815 for a day for their work from morning to evening.

"We are yet to get our March's wages and as a result our lives are tough. We also have families to feed," lamented a life guard.

Though presently due to Covid 19 lockdown, it's only the tourists who are missing from the beaches, as the sons of the soil - the fishermen do turn out for their vocation and hence these hapless life guards continue to come for work.

Another section in the beach, here, are small time vendors who sell groundnuts, juice and tender coconut, who are now out of business, as the lockdown norms are very strict and tourists are not allowed on the beaches.

At the beach there are over a 100 of such small time vendors.

"We know that the government has taken such a stand to safeguard our health, but unless we sell our things, we are unable to take care of our family needs. We wish and hope the state government will come to our aid," said a lady vendor, whose business has been closed since the nationwide lockdown began last month.

Though the Kerala government has announced payment of doles to all those sections of the workers who are part of their respective welfare boards and to those in the informal sector, for these hapless small time vendors at the famed beach, they are yet to get anything.

All of them are now hopeful that the State Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran, who represents the capital district will come to their help and if it gets delayed, then their woes will continue.

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