THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Recently, the owner of a lights and sound company based in Thiruvanathapuram died by suicide owing to crippling financial crisis. Similar cases were also reported in Mavelikara and Kollam. The lives of many workers in the lights and sound industry, including MCs and stage decorators have been shattered by the pandemic.
Hundreds of people in the industry have started looking for other jobs to sustain their families. “We usually rely on the funds collected at the festivals from March to June to prepare for the next season. But we weren’t able to earn any profit in the past two years. Many people have started taking jobs in the construction sector,” said Pothan Paul, owner of Microlight and Sound. He has been in the business for 25 years and is now looking for other employment opportunities.
“Announcers and backstage artists are struggling. During the local body elections, there was a demand for our business. But, with the second wave, we are back to nothing,” said Sajeev Sabu, owner of a light and sound company. “Currently, two staff are working in my company and I am only able to pay them half the salary due to the crisis,” Sajeev added.
The representatives of the Light and Sound Welfare Association of Kerala (LSWAK) said the rising number of suicides should be addressed by the government. “Even the equipment has started rusting. Many people in the sector are also struggling to pay bank loans,” said K A Venugopal, Ernakulam district president of LSWAK.
Recently, the association conducted a silent protest in all districts with as many as 40 speakers lined up on the road urging government intervention. “There are more than 50,000 members in the state under the association. Many have lost crores of rupees and earnings after the pandemic outbreak. Though the government provided `1,000 last year, only a few members have received it. If no action is taken immediately, many more people in the sector will make unfortunate decisions,” Raheem Kuzhippuram, state president of the association, said.