Coronavirus: Panic puts dent in big fat Punjabi wedding plans in Ludhiana

Owners of hotels and marriage palaces are flooded with calls to postpone the bookings due to the restrictions imposed on arrivals from other countries
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Published on Mar 14, 2020 10:17 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | ByMohit Khanna, Ludhiana

The Covid-19 outbreak is proving to be a party pooper for people who had wedding functions lined up for this month.

The cancellation of visas by multiple countries has sent the NRIs and their big fat wedding plans into a tizzy.

Owners of hotels and marriage palaces are flooded with calls to postpone the bookings due to the restrictions imposed on arrivals from other countries.

Hotel and Restaurant Association president Amarbir Singh said their business has been adversely hit due to the spread of coronavirus, especially in Canada, Europe, the United Kingdom (UK) and Australia as majority of the Punjabi diaspora is settled in these countries.

“Many people from the town are either studying or living abroad while their parents are still here. Thus, many NRI weddings scheduled in March have been either been cancelled or postponed for the time being till the situation turns normal,” Amarbir said.

President of Punjab Marriage Palace and Resort Association Amarjeet Singh said, “We are yet to receive any order from the government regarding cancellation of the events. However, deputy commissioner (DC) Pradeep Agrawal has issued some instructions pertaining to hygiene. We have been told to keep sanitisers at the marriage palace. Besides, we are in talks with the local relatives of NRIs and are trying to establish contact with the embassies so that we could gather information about their status. However, there has been no response so far.”

A woman currently settled in Canada’s Brampton was scheduled to marry on April 15. But, now she is now unsure if she would be able to make it to the wedding.

“Wedding invites have already been sent and reservations have been made. So much money has been spent on shopping, but due to the spread of virus, everything has come to a standstill. I don’t even know if I would be allowed to travel to India,” the woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said.

While sharing details about dwindling turnout at hotel and restaurant, a hotelier, Jasram Singh Grewal, said, “Leave alone weddings of NRIs, people are showing reluctance to even attend local functions. The hotel industry has been badly hit as occupancy has witnessed a massive drop.”

Darshan Kumar, legal officer of NRI Sabha, said people holding an Indian passport could visit the country without fear.

“There is no need to panic. People travelling from abroad have to follow the medical protocol set by the government,” he added.

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