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Strikes take toll on weddings

Ahmed Shatil Alam

Apart from taking a heavy toll on businesses and children’s education, the ongoing political turmoil is also creating great difficulties for those planning to marry, causing many couples in the capital to delay their wedding ceremonies and receptions.
In the last two months, at least 70 wedding ceremonies were delayed, said officials of three community centres in the capital due to the strikes.
The number of such deferred wedding ceremonies across the city will much more higher than this, they observed.
On many occasions family members and would-be-couples had to shift wedding programmes at the very last minute which has been costly for the families.
Newly married Shah M Abid Hussain, an engineer, said that his wedding and reception dates had to be changed to due to the hartal.
He said that opposition-called hartal for November 4 had overlapped with their reception ceremony and so they shifted both the wedding and reception programme to November 9.
‘We had sent invitation letters, and had made all kinds of preparations but just two days before the reception, we had to reschedule the programmes,’ he said.
Shiuly Rahman, mother of a groom, said they had to shift the date of wedding ceremony of her son from November 22.
‘We have no choice but to rescheduling the programme, as we wanted to arrange the programme on November 22 at the Shohag Community Centre, but the bride and her family could not have made it by then as the transport workers called a country-wide transport strike on Thursday [the day before the programme],’ she said.
Ruling Awami League and opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party have been in conflict over the last months concerning the formation of an election time government, but the conflict became more strident with the beginning of strikes from the 25 October,
Since then, the opposition has held general strikes and blockades for 29 days and several others days  have been marked with violent clashes across the country.
M Helal Miah, the accountant at Prianka Community Centre said, ‘Normally in October, November and December a large number of wedding ceremonies take place in the country and this kind political turmoil causes huge disruption of our business.’
‘We generally charge around Tk 1 lakh for every programme, and in October 26-December 18 around 25 programmes had so far been cancelled,’ he added.
Dhaka Ladies Club manager Mahfuzur Rahman and Shohag Community Centre manager Abul Hossain told New Age they had together faced more than Tk 50 lakh in total as 48 programmes had been cancelled in both the centres.
‘Usually, October-January is the best time for us to do business, as people mostly arrange wedding ceremonies at this period,’ said Mahfuzur Rahman.
‘People also want to arrange wedding ceremonies on weekdays along with the weekends at this period of time,’ said Abul Hossain.
Both the community centres official told New Age that the organisers are not interested to organise large scale programme as they are scare about the political turmoil.
‘Mostly people are organising small scale programme as for 200 guests, where as usually the number was at least 500 in previous years,’ said Abul Hossain.
BD Wedding Planners, a wedding management firm owner Mainur Hossain told New Age, this year during October-December, they had arranged only 10 wedding ceremonies, whereas the number was more than 25 in last year.
‘This year, I am observing the worst scenario in the 6 years of my business career as we made only Tk 3-5 lakh during the period, however, in previous years we had grossed Tk 10 lakh.

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