Printing units paint a dull picture of Covid – The New Indian Express

Express news service

MADURAI: With the number of Covid cases falling and the lockdown restrictions gradually easing, flex and poster printing units are hoping for a return to normal. The socio-cultural and political aspects of popular poster culture in Madurai have also paved the way for a huge economy revolving around the sector, with thousands of families dependent on the business.

Speaking to TNIE, J Raja Prabhu, who has run a flexible and poster printing unit for over 12 years, said that in the pre-Covid scenario, the business had thrived for more than seven months. “We used to receive bulk orders at weddings, festivals, movie releases, birthday celebrations by fan clubs and elections. Many people from the southern districts also came to Madurai because they could get the prints at low cost. The profit of the seven months would be enough to make ends meet. Other than that, we would also be taking over the business. The Covid epidemic changed everything. We never suffered a loss. so huge over the past 12 years, ”he said.

To establish a design center, only a computer or laptop is needed. Anyone can do it from anywhere. But printing units require huge investments. “Each machine would cost a minimum of Rs 20 lakh. It was only when the unit was installed within the city limits that we would be able to secure regular orders. The rent for the building in the city would cost it. only a minimum of Rs 30,000. In addition to that, the electricity costs would amount to an additional Rs 30,000. Apart from that, there are the costs of labor, the purchase of raw materials and other expenses, ”he added.

While most of the people in the business had obtained bank loans to invest in capital, about 30 percent of them in the district had left the business and opted for regular employment because they could not join. two ends. From suppliers of raw materials, including sales of paper, flexible materials, ink, design, printing unit, framing, transportation and welding to posters, thousands of families depend on the economy of this sector, said Raja.

For over 15 years, N Manickam (45) has made a living by sticking movie posters for theaters through the city walls. “We used to stick single, double, six and nine sheet posters. For each bit, we earn from Rs 3 to Rs 6. We would have designated areas to stick them. Since the Covid-induced lockdown, everyone the theaters were closed and we lost our jobs, ”he said. The “poster boys” were between 16 and 60 years old, and work was a major source of income for college students.

Responding to the question about the regulations brought by the Chennai company, Manickam said such initiatives would destroy their future. “As printing units and other stakeholders made do with flexible banners and other digital banners, poster collage was the only income for many families here,” he added.

However, stakeholders hope this is only a temporary setback. “We believe that things will return to normal once the lockdown restrictions are completely lifted, as poster culture is an inseparable phenomenon of Madurai,” they added.

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