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Dhoolpet artisans feel unsettled

Dhoolpet artisans feel unsettled
Highlights

Now that the Sankranti festivities are done and over with, the traditional artisans from Dhoolpet are gearing up to move over to their next seasonal livelihood. It is goodbye maanjas and welcome Ganesh idols for these persons whose families have been into the businesses for generations together.

Many families cry foul about dwindling business due to influx of settlers

Now that the Sankranti festivities are done and over with, the traditional artisans from Dhoolpet are gearing up to move over to their next seasonal livelihood. It is goodbye maanjas and welcome Ganesh idols for these persons whose families have been into the businesses for generations together.

Several families have already set the ball rolling for this year having commenced making Ganesh idols of various shapes and sizes. The workload is enormous and time-consuming as normally it takes up to nine months to accomplish the task. Such has always been the demand for the idols that Ganesh festival always rang noticeable windfall every year. Alas, this time it may not be the same, not anymore.

There is a threat to the city’s idol makers and the competition comes from artisans who have moved in from distant Rajasthan, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh, more as settlers. Stung by the gathering storm and apprehensive about the likely impact, the Telangana Murthi Kalakaar Welfare Association had appealed to the Telangana government last week. They demanded only one thing-people belonging to other states should not be allowed to sell their idols here.

Raj Kumar, president of the association, says, “We have been in the business of making idols for many decades. The number of growing migrants has taken a toll on our economic conditions.” “Financial assistance is hard to come by and it drives many from the community to commit suicide. Bankers are always wary and don’t lend us as our area is notorious for spurious drugs. Many people think that we are involved in seasonal business. But making Ganesh idols takes almost eight to 10 months of a year.

Sadly, despite the sweat and toil that go into making the idols, we hardly make ends meet as many outsiders have snatched away our share of revenue. The Telangana government should implement an order where craftsmen from states should not be allowed to enter the local market,” avers Mahesh Singh, general secretary of the association.

The workers also want the State government to allot alternate land on the outskirts of the city to avoid traffic congestion and facilitate prompt delivery of idols. “We have already made representations to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) officials about the settlers who use the roads of Uppal and Bowenpally to sell the idols. The civic body should check this as it is eating into the only source of revenue that we know of,” lamented an idol maker.

It is a sad commentary because on the one hand the kites and maanja are coming all the way from China and Ganesh idols are being made by people from other States. It is time for ‘Make in Hyderabad’ as far as Ganesh idols are concerned.

By:Chand Ahmed

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