Circus companies stare at losses, uncertainty amid lockdown
Circus companies across the state have been out of business since early March when the scare over the pandemic started gaining ground.
Performers of Ajanta Circus, one of the oldest in the state, are currently stranded in Kishanganj near the West Bengal-Bihar border, with just little food left in store.
"Since March 8, we are stranded in Kishanganj. We couldn't move out as the panic had spread... Then came the lockdown... Every day, food, maintenance and lodging cost us around Rs 45,000. We haven't earned a penny in the last one month," Rabiqul Haq, owner of Ajanta Circus, told .
Haq also said he has not been able to pay full salary to his 60 staff members.
"We are facing immense hardship. It is getting tougher with each passing day. We have to feed the dogs and the birds, too. I don't know for how long I will be able to manage," he added.
Circuses usually get one or two shows every day. They move from one area to another every 10-15 days. Employees are paid around Rs 10,000-Rs 20,000, depending on their skills and the number of years they have put in.
Empire Circus, a 40-year-old company, too is staring at an uncertain future, having run out of money.
Stranded in Haroa block of North 24 Parganas for the last 23 days, staffers and the animals there do not have enough resources to make ends meet.
Luckily for the company, the local block development officer and panchayat members have come forward to provide them with food every day.
"We have run out of money and don't have resources to feed our staff and animals, keep aside the question of paying salaries. If the situation continues, we will be forced to disband our circus," Empire Circus manager Jahangir Molla said.
Apart from the 40 members in his team, Molla also has five children in his entourage.
"The kids are the children of our employees; they are between five and 10 years old. The conditions in which we are living right now under the open sky with just a tarpaulin to shield ourselves are not just unhealthy but also unsafe," Molla said.
According to Farid Jamad, the local panchayat head, villagers and other officials have been helping the circus employees with food and other essentials items over the past few weeks.
"They came here as guests to entertain us and our children. They will not starve as long as we are here," Jamad asserted.
Haq said the Centre banning the use of big cats for performances in circuses a few years ago had dealt a body blow to the business, forcing many small and medium-sized companies to shut shop.
- DBS Bank’s custom financing leads the way for companies trying to reach net-zero goals
- Republic Day 2022 – Here is a list of wishes and messages you can send to your fellow citizens
- The world's 5 richest tech tycoons — including Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates — have already lost about $85 billion this year amid a brutal market sell-off
- Brands celebrate Republic Day with patriotic fervour
- OPINION: Tax consolidation schemes is the need of the hour for India’s renewable energy sector
- Air India's new policy on pre-flight weight checks is not going well with its staff
- Anand Mahindra responds after farmer's humiliation at SUV showroom
- MakeMyTrip's founder Deep Kalra moves into a chief mentor role