Three city-based youngsters have taken up the task of providing laundry and bill payment facilities for residents hard pressed for time

For those Kochiites for whom time is a premium, and trifling matters such as doing the laundry and paying the bills have become a major chore, fear not, help is at hand. Now a mere phone call is enough for assistance to arrive at your doorstep. Three youngsters from the suburbs of Kochi have been utilising their leisure time for a good cause over the last one year with commitment and determination. Sreekanth G. Bhat, Vengedesh K.R and Vishnu Rajiv, a trio based at Karanakkodam near Vytilla, are the saviours in question. They run a laundry-cum-bill payment centre named ‘City Laundry’ at Karanakkodam, where people can hand over clothes and household bills that need to be remitted.

“We collect clothes from households for washing, dry-cleaning and ironing. After the process they are returned to their respective doorsteps. Similarly we remit the electricity, water and telephone bills of our clients,” explains Vengedesh. Sreekanth is a priest at Sree Venkatachalapathy Temple, Karanakkodam, Vengedesh works as an insurance agent and Vishnu works with a Chartered Accountant’s firm. The common interest that binds them together is the importance they give to the dignity of labour.

Various collection points

“Since it involves huge investment and man power, the laundry process is done at a friend’s unit. The unit, named ‘Cochin White House’, is based at Elamakkara with a mechanised unit at Manjummel. The delivery van from the unit collects the clothes from various points of the city including our centre,” says Vengedesh.

“We have regular clients who are always busy and therefore forget to remit water, electricity and telephone bills on time. Sometimes we pay their expenses from our own pockets and seek reimbursement later,” says Vishnu . The group charges a meagre commission for paying the bills. “We remit the bills at their respective offices and not at ‘Friends Janasevanakendram’ in order to avoid any problems,” adds Sreekanth.

Vengedesh is the one who usually spares time to collect clothes from households on his two wheeler. . The three youths in their late twenties first started the service of remitting bills and later chose the unique field of laundry service, with the latest facility being door step delivery . “A service that collects soiled clothes from customers and delivers them back to their doorsteps after laundry is quite rare. This is what prompted us to start offering the facility a year ago,” explains the trio.

“At present we have 100-odd clients for whom we do the service of remitting their electricity, telephone and water bills. We charge Rs.10 as commission for bills mounting up to Rs.1,000. An additional Rs.5 is charged for the bills exceeding Rs.1,000,” says Sreekanth. He has to cover 30 households for collecting bills.

“I go to remit the bills on Saturday as I have been engaged by a Chartered Accountant's firm. We started the service among our friends and relatives in the beginning. Later it was extended to others also,” adds Vishnu .

Standing before deities and performing poojas is not the only ‘karma’ for Sreekanth . “I mainly go to offices to pay the bills of clients while Vengedesh handles the collection of clothes from households,” he explains. “I attain ‘moksha’ not only when I perform rituals as a priest in the temple but also when I serve humanity through these actions,” he adds .

Bulk orders

The trio get bulk laundry orders from film and television serial units too. From the tinsel world, apart from dresses, curtains and appurtenances are also sent for laundering. They charge two rupees per article that is home delivered . For the whole process of washing / dry cleaning and ironing the rate is Rs.25 for pants, Rs.45 for cotton saris and Rs.50 for silk saris. At present the service is available in Vytilla, Thammanam, Palarivattom and Kaloor. The farthest destination for collection of clothes is Chembumukku, Thrikkakara.

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