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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 21 February 2024

No screen too big, no price too steep for World Cup final

Many clubs, housing complexes and associations were seeking large screens, projectors or LED, despite steep rates

Snehamoy Chakraborty Calcutta Published 18.12.22, 04:24 AM
A trader readies a large TV set to rent it out to a club in Bhadreswar on Saturday

A trader readies a large TV set to rent it out to a club in Bhadreswar on Saturday Amit Kumar Karmakar

The much-awaited France-Argentina Fifa World Cup final on Sunday has caused hiring rates of giant display screens and projectors to shoot through the roof across several parts of football-crazy Bengal.

Sources said many clubs, housing complexes and associations of football lovers were seeking large screens — projectors or LED — as of Saturday despite steep rates, which at times were reportedly five times higher than usual.

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“We are looking for a large projector to watch the World Cup final on Sunday at our club. We are ready to pay Rs 5,000-6,000 instead of the usual charge of Rs 1,200. Unfortunately, we have not been able to get even a large TV on hire as all rental services are fully booked,” said Bhabatosh Saha, a functionary of Taldanga Jagarani Sangha in Hooghly’s north Chandernagore.

It’s the same story in several districts such as East Burdwan, Birbhum and South 24-Parganas in south Bengal, and Malda, Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri in the north.

Many who failed to arrange giant screens reportedly requested local TV sellers to rent out television sets with screens of 55 to 65 inches.

“I received requests from at least 100 people asking for new television sets on rent for the match on Sunday,” a TV retailer in Siliguri town said. “I refused considering the risk to the future market value of the sets if they came back to my showroom damaged. Who will save my television sets if angry fans damage them in case their beloved team loses in the final?” he asked.

The paucity of large screens prompted several civic bodies to organise live telecast of the World Cup final at various prominent locations in their towns or corporation areas.

The Chandernagore Municipal Corporation has put up a giant screen at the Chandernagore Strand on the banks of the Ganga. The Siliguri Municipal Corporation has done so at Bagha Jatin More. Malda police have organised a telecast of the final match in at least 10 remote villages.

“We, the residents of Chandernagore, are largely supporters of France keeping in mind our French-colony past. We paid at least double the usual price to hire a giant screen for the sake of football and the passion of people of our area,” said Chandernagore deputy mayor Munna Agrawal.

Traders who provide rental services of display screens said they had never witnessed such a demand before.

“I have 34 large TV screens and projectors. All are booked. I’d say the last few were auctioned, such was the demand. It is a rare day when all my screens are booked,” said Sunil Roy, owner of a rental display service in Hooghly’s Bandel. “I received 400 calls from those willing to pay six times more than the regular rent. I had to refuse them.”

Traders from Bankura, Birbhum and Cooch Behar echoed Roy.

“All 20 projectors I own are booked. But even now I am deluged with calls from clubs and footfall enthusiasts,” said Bibhas Dam, a Cooch Behar trader.

“We couldn’t find a large screen despite all our efforts,” sighed Sainav Chakraborty, a member of Alipurduarer Argentina Fans Club.

Additional reporting by our Siliguri bureau.

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