Thursday, November 23, 2017
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There is rush for marriage halls during the wedding season. And one has to pay through one’s nose to get a suitable place.I suggest that Nagar Nigam should propose to set up a string of Marriage Halls in different localities of Allahabad.

This would mean that this business  would no longer belong to the private sector. It may be argued that Five Star hotels in the public sector have ultimately turned into losing concerns , how will the Nagar Nigam maintain the financial equilibrium? That is true. But the two situations are different. A Hotel has to be run round the year. There are lean seasons and busy seasons. But one has to retain the staff and the administrative set up round the year. It could therefore be becoming a costly affair if lethargy sets in because of the permanence of the job.

In a Marriage Hall such constraints will not be there. Marriage season is there for a limited period. For that time staff on contract basis can be engaged on daily basis. It could be even extension of work for the staff of the existing NN departments. They could be sent out on deputation. Wedding halls normally function in the evenings. It would thus be overtime for the NN staff. They can be sent on deputation on rotation and paid for the day. This would ensure them of a sort of bonus. If the NN staff are not available then they can hire labour for those limited days. For the rest of the year these halls may be let out for exhibitions which are now held in big hotels or even on roadsides.

 The rates of the NN Marriage Halls would certainly be lower than the private wedding halls where for one evening they charge a fabulous amount. The Nagar Nigam Halls may charge a reasonable amount. This will open their cash counters and earn enormous returns which could turn a losing institution into a profitable one. Merely hiring out footpaths and collecting Tehbzari is not enough. It is an outdated business concept.

What the Nagar Nigam authorities would have to ensure is that no permanent  tenancy is given to anyone. The halls may be booked for public lectures and other big functions. This would certainly keep them busy round the year. Even if that side of the business may take time to pick up, the profits made during the wedding season would be enough to enable them to maintain not just these halls but the Nagar Nigam itself. Even if after the wedding season, the Marriage Halls remain idle and have to be locked, there  would be no cause for despair.

 During the wedding seasons the marriage halls in every nook and corner of the city tend to disrupt traffic. Hence the proposed Nagar Nigam wedding halls would end that congestion too, the presumption being that the makers will ensure good parking space within the campus of the hall.

 

I may add that these wedding halls may be multi-storey complexes so as to accommodate several wedding receptions simultaneously.. As I said, no permanent staff is to be employed for running the wedding halls. It would thus be neat profits for the Nagar Nigam. Money will start pouring into the coffers of the Nagar Nigam. If the Nagar Nigam does not want to – rather does not have the finance to – build wedding halls let them start with temporary attractive structures. The Nagar Nigam may initially go in for such structures and when they have earned substantially they can then build a ‘pucca’ wedding reception hall. These days I am told that modest charges are Rs,.50,000 for an evening. In some cases the charges are much higher, almost a lakh of rupees if not more. The only thing that matters is that the wedding halls should present an attractive look. What do most of these halls do ? They hire chairs and tables, pottery and cutlery. Usually the wedding parties serve their own meals. So they engage their own waiters and cooks. The wedding halls provide them with space – the kitchen and other requirements. But the Halls arrange for chairs and also carpets and other decorative pieces which are hired. So that once the function is over the halls are empty.

BARAAT HALLS

I referred to the need for building  multi-storey complexes. On the upper storeys rooms too could be built for letting out to the baraats. They should be told to bring all their articles – bedding, chairs , tables etc and all that  the NN would provide them is an empty room and not a furnished one. This will suit them too as then they will be able to decorate the rooms as per their own desire. If the NN were to provide a furnished room all sorts of complaints would be received about poor maintenance rotten furniture and so on. That criticism won’t be there. For the wedding parties this would still be cheaper than hotels. At the utmost the NN can put up placards or instructions on notice board as to which parties they should contact for hiring chairs, tables, pottery etc. Their phone numbers may be given too. The hirer will have the choice to pick out any of the parties recommended or he may arrange the whole thing entirely on his own.

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