Polls near but mike business still dull
After a series of drama in the political arena, it is now certain that the national election will be held on December 29. But the news has not instilled hope into those who provide loudspeaker service during election campaign.
The loudspeaker service providers said they have been experiencing a huge slump in their business for the last two years due to the enforcement of the state of emergency that bans outdoor political activities in the country.
Traditionally, the horn loudspeakers are used as sound system during public meetings, rallies, organisational meetings and election campaign by the political parties and election candidates. The system is witness to every major political events of the country before and after independence.
The ban on political activities was partially withdrawn in May this year but use of loudspeakers is still restricted. According to Election Commission's rules, candidates will be allowed to use loudspeakers in campaign for three weeks before election.
As the election day nears the loudspeaker service providers hoped that the business would pick up pace. They are waiting for the start of campaign.
Industry leaders said the ban on political activities hit their business hard as they are primarily dependent on political meetings.
“Election is like Eid for us. Before every national election political parties and candidates arrange public meetings every day across the city and obviously they hire sound system with hundreds of loudspeakers. This year we haven't seen any sign of activities yet,” said Abul Kalam Azad, managing partner, Taj Mike Service.
“Although we are eagerly looking forward to election for a very long time, we don't see any significant boost in our business after full withdrawal of emergency. When candidates will be allowed to use loudspeakers, there will be too little time before election. Politicians will not go to all the places for election campaign. That means business will not be as good as it used to be during the last elections,” he added.
The mike-service providers hope that campaign will get momentum after Eid.
Joynal Abedin, owner of Royal Mike Service, said during national days and events like Independence Day, Victory Day, Ekushey February or Pahela Baishakh they get some customers. Besides, there are religious programmes like Waz Mahfil. People also hire loudspeaker to announce missing child.
Apart from this, the loudspeaker service providers experienced a huge loss in business during the last two years and some companies were forced to shut down the business.
The companies still in operation are replacing the old mode of public announcement system with modern digital equipment.
Md Akhtar Hossain, proprietor of Tarango Sound Service, said about 40 percent mike service providers shut down their business in recent times.
“Cultural programmes were our second important business. But nowadays they tend to hire digital sound system. To survive we had to switch,” he said.