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Friday, September 18, 2020

Allow more guests for functions: Gujarat Weddings and events industry

“From September 21, as per the Unlock 4.0 guidelines, 100 attendees will be allowed to attend marriages. That is not enough to sustain our industry which has been shut for the last six months," said Narendra Somani, president of Federation of All India Catering.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad | September 8, 2020 5:49:53 am
Gujarat Unlock, wedding guests, Weddings and events industry, Gujarat news, Indian express newsThe associations linked with weddings and events demanded that the government allows guests up to 50 per cent of the capacity of the marriage hall or the event location. (Representational)

Unhappy with the guidelines of Unlock 4.0, the weddings and events industry in Gujarat, which is badly hit due to the Covid-19 restrictions, on Monday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention for allowing more attendees for marriages in wake of the upcoming wedding season.

“From September 21, as per the Unlock 4.0 guidelines, 100 attendees will be allowed to attend marriages. That is not enough to sustain our industry which has been shut for the last six months. With folded hands, I want to appeal to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and CM (Vijay Rupani) to allow us to become Atmanirbhar. We want to stand up on our own feet. As you have allowed, buses, trains and flights to ply, do allow us similar relaxations,” said Narendra Somani, president of Federation of All India Catering which was one of the six associations linked with the wedding industry that addressed media persons on Monday.

The associations linked with weddings and events demanded that the government allows guests up to 50 per cent of the capacity of the marriage hall or the event location.

Claiming that lakhs of families associated with the wedding and events industry have lost jobs, “Scores of caterers, event managers, decorators, sound and light technicians, photographers, garments, wedding card designers and printers, sound technicians, hotels, food suppliers, are all among those affected. This is a highly unorganised industry, where most are daily wage earners. So we cannot put a figure on the quantum of losses,” Somani said adding that letters written to the PMO in the past regarding the issue went unheard.

Four months after government allowed marriages to be held with a maximum of 50 guests, the government in Unlock 4.0 guidelines allowed 100 people to attend marriage ceremonies. According to industry estimates, not more than 100 weddings happened between May and August when the government had relaxed the guidelines for guests. However, the wedding season between November and May, sees at least 50,000 weddings happening in Gujarat.

Jaydeep Mehta, founder and president, Event Management Federation said, “The industry cannot run with revenues from 50-100 attendees. If the government permits guests equivalent to at least 50 percent of capacity of the event, then this industry can be saved.” Mehta said the industry will follow the government SOPs.

The representatives of various associations said it was important for the government to make an immediate announcement in this regard as people will take their time to book wedding and event venues and similarly some time would also be needed for planners who would organise or conduct such events.

“If a wedding has to take place anytime between November and May, then the government needs to make a announcement now so that there is sufficient time for people to plan and book. During the wedding season more than 50,000 weddings take place across Gujarat and it is a huge revenue earner for us,” Mehta said.

The representatives of the associations said that 70-80 per cent of the contractual staff in the wedding and events industry have either been laid off or have taken salary cuts. “We do not have any revenues and many of us are finding it difficult to even pay 50 per cent salaries to our employees,” Mehta added.

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