THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Honeymooning in Munnar, while enjoying the winter chill was a long-cherished dream for Krishnakumar, an employee with a multinational firm in the capital. But, the post-demonetisation cash crunch spoiled his marriage plans, leaving his family no options other than postponing the marriage from December first week to February next year.
Krishnakumar is not alone. Demonetisation has marred marriage plans of many youths in the state, if the government’s marriage registration statistics are any proof. The number of weddings registered in the state this month up to December 20 was a mere 7,598, not even half of the 18,446 marriage registrations in December, 2015, or the 17,014 registrationsin December, 2014.
Many families were forced to postpone or even cancel the wedding, while many others chose to scale down the expenses. Reluctance of stakeholders in the wedding industry to switch over to cashless payments, too, has left to-be married couples high and dry.
A majority of marriage halls, including those run by Travancore Devaswom Board, accept only cash payments. Venu, a businessman, who fixed his daughter’s marriage for this month, said he was running from pillar to post to arrange cash for the expenses. “The marriage hall owner, catering and shamiana contractors, beautician and local vendors accept cash only. The withdrawal restrictions on bank accounts forced me to borrow money from relatives,” he said.
Families drop plans for big, fat weddings Arun Philip, a Kottayam-based catering and shamina contractor, pointed out the difficulty in cashless payments. “If I receive cashless payments, it is difficult to pay wages to the labourers who keep changing in accordance with the location or nature of work,” he said. However, many entrepreneurs adapted to the change, like Sherly, who runs a beauty parlour in Kochi.
“I recently purchased a swiping machine to prevent loss of business. I also accept payments in cheque,” she said.A Dubai-settled Malayali couple said they have dropped the plans to conduct their daughter’s marriage in the homeland. “The groom, too, is settled in Dubai. Our initial choice was Kerala so that all our relatives could attend the wedding. But, the cash crunch forced us to hold the function in Dubai,” they said. There is also a sharp decline in honeymoon booking at hotels and resorts. State-run KTDC’s chairman M Vijayakumar said their honeymoon packages have less takers this year.