Demonetisation to hit New Year Eve celebrations in Kolkata

Kolkata, Dec 30 (IANS) Party planners and event managers in this eastern metropolis are battling payment hassles and logistics disruption post-demonetisation as they struggle to pull off New Year Eve bashes.

The cash crunch has put a spanner in the works of small private parties, while the brains behind big shows are literally scrambling to deliver on their commitments, which were made before the surprise November 8 demonetisation.

Recent RBI regulations on depositing new currency have sent officials at the event management company Actor Studio, which is presenting actress Sunny Leone’s maiden show in Kolkata, into a tizzy.

“We are facing a lot of problems, particularly over the RBI regulation on depositing new currency. The tickets for the show were sold in new currency. Axis Bank is refusing to deposit them. Although the artistes’ payments are done through online banking, the majority of the tickets have been sold in cash which we are unable to deposit,” Abhishek De Sarkar of Actor Studio, also an acting and modeling institute, told IANS.

Sarkar said the “fight is still on” to put up a stellar show, although sponsorships have not been easy to come by.

“It has been hard to get sponsorship this year. But we are relying on credit and the credit support has been good. Since we had planned the event in October, we have to do it. There is a huge rush for tickets because it is Sunny Leone,” he said.

Observing the infrastructure to transform India into a cashless economy is “not ready”, Sarkar said demonetisation is bound to dent New Year’s Eve celebrations this time around, with mobile wallets like Paytm “overburdened”.

Avishek Basu, Regional Head, Public Performance Licensing – East, for The Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS), said around four to five organisers who applied for licenses have cancelled their events.

The IPRS issues licenses for performance and/or communication to the public of the works owned by it. The organisation has slapped around 20 to 25 legal notices on event organisers, including hotels, for evading the mandatory license application.

“As many as four to five organisers of privately-booked events, who had applied with us for licence, have cancelled their events. Though they can pay us via online banking, they need hard cash to pay off those responsible for power generators and security personnel and others needed to hold a party. So they had to cancel them,” Basu told IANS.

However, restaurants are hoping demonetisation doesn’t kill their guests’ appetites.

The Lalit Great Eastern promises a “family party” with international acts, music, dance and delicacies from London in a huge buffet spread with the focus on bringing London to Kolkata.

“We hope demonetisation doesn’t affect our special arrangements as people have the option to pay via POS machines and New Year’s Eve 2016 will not come again,” an official told IANS.

(Sahana Ghosh can be contacted at sahana.g@ians.in)

–IANS

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