Dhoolpet artisans in dire straits

Dhoolpet artisans in dire straits
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Dhoolpet artisans in dire straits

Highlights

The unprecedented drop in sales of idols during Ganesh Chaturthi makes the artisans crestfallen and uncertain about their future

Hyderabad: The idol making industry, just like all other sectors severely affected by the Covid pandemic, is also in dire straits due to very few sales witnessed during the current Ganesh Chaturthi.

The livelihoods of idol makers, artisans, workers and affiliated traders have been severely affected and are concerned over the bleak year ahead. Unlike other industries or labourers who are employed all year around, the workers and artisans in idol making do business only during Ganesh and Durga festivities.

As idol making is the sole source of income for the artisans, idol makers in Dhoolpet, the city's biggest idol market, had cold sales for the first time since communities and people started celebrating Ganesh and Durga festivals by installing idols in pandals and at homes.

Kailash Singh Hazari, vice president, Telangana Ganesh Idol Makers Welfare Association, said "Around 23,000 idols of sizes from six inches to four feet have been sold this year, which is far less than around one lakh idols of all sizes sold in previous years."

According to Kailash, the overall sales of Dhoolpet market was around Rs 1 crore which usually used to be anywhere between Rs 20 crore and 25 crore.

"Around 7,000 people including 250 artisan families who live here along with workers, labourers, nearby shop owners and transport workers have been affected big time as everyone are dependent on the sales of idols," he adds further.

Sunil Singh, a shop owner in Dhoolpet shares, "Every year my sales use to be anywhere around Rs 10 to 20 lakh, however, this year the sales were around 1 to 1.5 lakh only in which I have to manage all the expenses."

No instructions for Durga festival

Like Ganesh Utsav Durga festival is also business period for artisans at Dhoolpet. However, unlike the confusing norms during Ganesh utsav by the authorities, artisans not yet received any clear instructions.

"While making Ganesh idols simultaneously we also make goddess Durga idols as both festivals are merely few weeks apart. But this year, we don't want to repeat the same mistake we did while making Ganesh idols. Till now we haven't received any clear set of instructions from the authorities," said Kailash Hazari.

There are around 4,000 durga idols from one to six feet currently which are at finishing stages. The artisans are delaying the work waiting to get clear directions from the government.

"If the authorities keep changing the norms for idol sizes and celebrations for Durga festiviteis like they did for Ganesh chaturthi, then it will be a double whammy for the artisans driving them to the edge of survival. The will be forced to shut shop and search for other means of livelihood," lamented Kailash.

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