Business Bureau :
AFTER suffering huge losses last year, the marriage halls and lawns have been again ordered to be closed from February 25 to contain the spread of COVID-19 virus. “We are one of the most affected industries as all business has stopped due to the lockdown. Most of the owners are facing financial crunch and mental stress. The Government should open the marriage halls and lawns at the earliest,” demanded Sanjay Kale, Joint Secretary of Nagpur Marriage Halls and Lawns Association while speaking to The Hitavada. He further said that the Government should have taken the marriage halls and lawn owners into confidence and consulted them before taking such harsh decision of lockdown. Closure orders are issued in haste that creates many problems not just for the marriage hall and lawn owners but also for all the people associated with the marriage industry.
When a person books a hall for marriage multiple services get involved like catering, Mandap decoration, flower decoration, lighting, Mehani, parlour service providers etc. More than 50,000 people are providing various services during the marriage season that also get affected due to lockdown. When the lockdown was ordered, all the future marriage bookings had been cancelled. This created a financial problem as most of the service providers were paid in advance. “It created a very big panic situation among all the people involved in the marriage industry,” he said. Besides this, the hall and lawn owners had to refund the booking amount. There are more than 300 marriage halls and 200 lawns in the city. “During the marriage season, an average daily loss of Rs 25 crore is incurred due to lockdown,” he said. He said that the civic administration should not have given permission to organise marriages at home with not more than 50 people. Many people are taking advantage of this decision.
“When large crowds can be effectively managed at the spacious halls and lawns, why their services are not being utilised. Physical distancing can be easily achieved,” Kale pointed out. When the halls and lawns were open civic officials would came and inspect the marriages and everything was working smoothly. Just because 2 per cent of hall and lawn owners had floated the norms the Government imposed the lockdown which was unjustified. “Keeping the marriage halls and lawns closed is not the solution to stop the spread of coronavirus. We are not in favour of lockdown,” he said. “Even though all the halls and lawns are closed for the public. Still we have to pay monthly maintenance charges, salary of workers, property tax, hefty electricity bills as high as Rs 22 per unit, water bills etc. The Government should provide relief or compensate the marriage hall and lawn owners in some form,” he said.