Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, June 29
Marriage palaces and resorts across the state are finding it difficult to stay afloat amid restrictions due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
With a curb on the number of guests, the owners of these establishments said they would be forced to shut the business if the government did not allow them to cater to at least 200-250 guests.
There are nearly 5,000 marriage palaces in the state, which provide employment to lakhs of skilled and semi-skilled workers such as caterers, waiters, decorators, florists, DJ operators, singers, band players, cultural troops, valet parking, security agencies and halwais, besides their permanent staff. The lockdown has hit the wedding industry hard and deprived many of livelihood.
In the absence of any government support, it has become difficult for the owners to repay bank loan instalments, pay salaries to the staff and meet other day-to-day expenditures, including electricity bills.
According to information, one palace owner has lost an average of 10 bookings due to the pandemic and one function costs anywhere between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 30 lakh depending upon the setup.
President of the Marriage Palace and Resorts Association, Sukhdev Singh Sidhu from Mohali said all banquet halls and marriage palaces were shut since mid-March, leading to huge losses. Thousands of workers associated with these establishments and other allied service providers had been rendered jobless.
“Hotels and community centres have already starting taking bookings for various events, leaving the marriage palaces in a quandary. Social gatherings and wedding functions are generally booked three to six months before the function. The wedding season in Punjab starts from September. We have already suffered huge losses. We appeal to the state government to allow us to open the palaces and increase the number of guests,” said Sidhu.
Kishan Thakur, who has taken a marriage resort on lease in Ludhiana, said in view of a vast open area, palaces were in a much better position to hold events.
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