Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) [India], August 19 (ANI): The tourism sector, which is a major source of employment, has been badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving many people like the horse owners or 'Ghodewalas' of Shimla struggling to survive.
The lack of tourists due the COVID-19 outbreak has made it difficult for them to make ends meet, with many even having to put down their horses.
"I have never seen anything like this pandemic in 20 years in this profession. Due to the lack of tourists, I am finding it very difficult to make ends meet. I am in a business where I have to live hand to mouth. My earnings are just enough to feed my family and purchase chana for the horses. Thankfully we have a society for horse owners that has helps each other out otherwise I don't know how I would have survived," Subhash told ANI.
Another horse owner, Mustaak, said that he had to put down a horse as he could not afford the cost of its medical treatment due to the financial strain caused by the pandemic.
"Even if we have no income, the cost of maintaining the horse has remained the same. I have to feed each horse three kilos of chana every day. After one of them fell ill, I had to put her down as I could not afford to give her the medical attention that was required. It has been a struggle between choosing to feed my family, and taking care of the creatures that provide a means of livelihood." he said.
He added, "I am glad that the restrictions have eased a little bit and the business from locals has been sustaining us for now. Many people are still scared to come out as the risk of infection is still there."
Himachal Pradesh has so far recorded as many as 4,208 cases of COVID-19.
Out of the total cases, 1,314 are currently active, while 2,835 have recovered from the infection. So far, 17 people have died in the state due to COVID-19. (ANI)