Sharmili Mallick

With restrictions imposed by the Odisha Government on gathering of people during weddings, public processions and other social events in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, the light and sound providers in the State are suffering from losses in livelihood like never before.

The Light and Sound Owner’s Association of Odisha, a union of light and sound providers, has alleged that while pandemic crisis continues to haunt them for the last one and half year, the government's apathy has even compounded their misery. 

"We have never been really allowed to resume operations in full-fledged manner despite relaxations to other sectors," the organisation said while demanding the State government to allow social events with festive season starting from September.

Holding a press conference in Bhubaneswar, the members of the association claimed that over 1 lakh light and sound providers across the State have been hit due to the pandemic-induced lockdown in the last 17 months.

They requested the government to allow at least a procession of 100 people under strict adherence to Covid appropriate behaviour. The body also appealed the government to allow procession during Ganesh Puja to be celebrated next month on September 10.

The association demanded that if the government doesn’t allow public gathering, it should compensate the light and sound providers with Rs 10,000 every month. The members further said that if their demands are not fulfilled soon, over 50,000 light and sound workers in the State will come out to streets and start a silent protest.

Biswaranjan Samantaray, Secretary of Light and Sound Owner’s Association of Odisha said, “The State Government allowed every sector to resume work but we have not received the permission yet. It’s been over 17 months now we are still going through unspeakable miseries. We have to bear the house rents, EMIs and other expenditures. Thousands gather in a shopping hall every day but we are just asking to permit at least 100 people during processions.”

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)