THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the campaigning for local body polls set to pick up pace, the printing industry is looking to cover the losses suffered during the lockdown period. While most presses across the state are now manned by half the usual staff, a few orders have already been placed for publicity material. But the numbers remain negligible in the early days of campaigning, particularly with the election officials encouraging online campaigns over door-to-door efforts.
Despite the discouraging start, the industry is optimistic and is banking on the old school campaign methods to make a comeback. “If the usual flow of work into the neighbouring states (mostly Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu) is hindered due to Covid restrictions, the state may see an increase in business,” said Kerala Printers Association general secretary Hassainar Ponnantharayil. “We have received a few orders but nothing solid yet. Despite strict instructions, we are also seeing many posters with no details regarding where it was printed. We will bring it up with the officials. These materials will easily evade the expenditure list of candidates too,” he said.
According to him, Covid affected one of the two major seasons favourable to the printing industry — festivals and elections. “We saw the closure of at least 50 printing presses after the lockdown,” Hassainar said.
Manmohan Shenoy, president, Kerala Master Printers Association, agreed with the view that the emphasis on social media campaigning is expected to affect business. “The cost may also go up in tune with the rising price of paper. Many presses are working with half the staff in shifts. But work can be hit if the location of the press falls under containment zones,” Manmohan said.