The ongoing textile traders' strike has taken the sheen out of weddings in the state in the auspicious Maga masam. With the textile shops shutting down the shutters since January 23 over imposition of 5 per cent value added tax (VAT), the marriage plans have gone awry.
The period starting from January 26 to February-end is considered most auspicious and not less than 50,000 weddings are slated in this period.
A function hall owner in Maheswaram mandal told TOI that his hall was booked up to February-end but some marriage parties approached him postponing the wedding dates. "They are unable to buy saris, suits and other wedding finery due to the ongoing strike of the textile traders. We don't know when this stalemate will end," he said.
Textile shops in mandals and towns are also closed as sources said the textile traders' associations have imposed a penalty of Rs 51,000 if any trader opens his shop. While everything is in place, the closure of textile shops has turned upside down the wedding plans of people. Not only weddings, functions like house-warming and cradle ceremonies are also hit because of the textile stir.
Priest Ravi Sarma of Shadnagar said Telugus and other community people eagerly wait for Maga masam to solemnize the marriages as the month as per Hindu mythology is considered very auspicious. "In February 2, 3,10 and 12 dates are most important and good muhurthams for weddings. But with the textile traders' stir continuing, it remains to be seen as to how many would go ahead with the marriages," he said.
Some people eager to not to miss the wedding schedule are rushing to Raichur, Bangalore and Bidar in Karnataka, Nanded in Maharashtra, Vellore and Kanchi in Tamil Nadu to buy clothes. Sources said people from Mahbubnagar, Hyderabad, Rangareddy, Chittoor, Anantapur and Nizamabad districts are flocking to these places to buy wedding clothes. "We cannot postpone the wedding. So, we went to Raichur to purchase clothes for the wedding in our family," Ramakanth of Gadwal said.
When contacted, state convenor of textile association Malleswar said 5 per cent VAT is too high. "This type of tax regime is not imposed anywhere in the country. Jharkhand, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan levied the tax but abolished following a stir by cloth merchants," he said.
Mahbubnagar district cloth merchants association general secretary Narendar said usually they do Rs 2,000 crore business during the Maga masam but due to the strike their revenues have taken a beating. "We would not rest till the government abolishes VAT," he said.