Rashmi Ranjan

The unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns and shutdowns have largely affected the lives and livelihoods of people in the State. With scarce income sources, people belonging to the middle and lower-middle class are struggling to make ends meet and the artisans of the State are no exception.

Unable to find buyers for their products due to the Covid-19 restrictions, the stone artisans of Soro in Balasore district are staring at an uncertain future.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has affected our livelihood. Since last one year, we have not done any good business due to the restrictions imposed by the government. It is now becoming very difficult to manage even our daily expenses," said Somnath Upadhaya, an artisan.

Echoing similar views, another artisan, Panchanan Mallick said, "The travel restrictions imposed by the government has affected our business. We are going through a very tough time."

Similarly, the bamboo artisans in Mayurbhanj's Udala area are also unsure about their business due to the present pandemic situation.

According to sources, over 50 families at Berhampur village under Patasani Pachayat in the district used to earn their livelihood by making bamboo products. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has largely affected their business.

"This is our ancestral business and the only source of our income. However, the restriction imposed by the State government has affected our livelihood," Sara Mahali, a bamboo artisan, said.

"Due to the curbs on the business timings, we are unable to sale our products in the market. It is becoming very difficult for us to make the ends meet," said Kandan Mahali, another artisan.

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