If you thought that the hair cutting ritual at Tirupati was just that, a ritual, you need a rethink.
The hair tonsuring has a huge impact on the economy there; it is more than a ritual; it has helped some thousands of people earn their livelihood. But the industry has downed shutters as the toxic hair was being dumped on the banks of Hirehalla, a tributary of the Tungabhadra river, and the only source of drinking water in North Karnataka. That’s not all, it even hit the town, Bhagyanagar’s economy. On shutting down, when these units shut down, it impacted at least 7-15 members from each family who were involved in processing Tirupati hair.
For the last 30-40 years, most families were earning their livelihood cleaning and making hair extensions and wigs for exports. Each family member would process half to one kilogram of hair a day, and earn Rs 100-150. The status of 500 families turned precarious in 2015-16, when 450 of them lost their livelihoods.
And to help those hit by this, Suvarna Karnataka Nutana Javali Neethi Yojane was formed which helped provide skills and training. It has trained about 1,500-1,600 women in tailoring. Some have found employment in the garment sector but majority still remain unemployed…..