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High Court order grounds flex board makers

The High Court ban on banners and cut-outs depicting living persons has severely hit the industry making flex boards and hoardings.

According to industry sources, orders for flex boards have come down by over 70% since the order issued by the Madras High Court in the fourth week of October forcing the printers to scale down the workforce.

In Tiruchi, about 60 printing firms are functioning to cater to the needs of Tiruchi city, Lalgudi, Manapparai, Thuvarankurichi, Musiri, Thottiyam, Thuraiyur and other neighbouring areas in the district.

Some of them source orders from Pudukottai, Perambalur and Ariyalur districts too. The demand for flex boards and banners would generally soar during visits of political leaders, birthdays of political leaders, social, religious and community functions and birthdays of leading actors, release of new films and festivals.

But the printers hardly receive orders now due to restriction on using pictures on banners. As per the order of the High Court, pictures of living persons cannot be used on banners and cut outs.

Though there is no ban on using pictures of deceased persons on banners, the printing industry feels that it will no way help the industry. They say that it has triggered survival questions.

“The impact is very severe. If we had 100 customers a day before the restrictions, we hardly get five customers nowadays. We are facing a tough situation,” says A. Arul of Anna Sign and Graphics, who is in the business for about 25 years.

He added that if a popular leader of a political party visited Tiruchi, most of the printers would receive orders for flex boards and banners.

None had received noticeable order since the restriction. It had dealt a severe blow.

“We have installed flex machines with eco solvent technology at a cost of Rs. 16 lakh to Rs. 20 lakh each. Each firm employed between 10 and 30 persons. We do not know how to provide job opportunities to our workers,” Mr. Arun said.

It is said the flex board printers of Tiruchi are reaching out to other printers in various parts of the State to organise a unified protest in Chennai soon to highlight various issues being faced by them in the aftermath of the High Court restriction.


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