COVID-Hit Idol Makers Seek Odisha Govt Help
Jagatsinghpur/Keonjhar: The idol makers whose art and craftsmanship are an integral part of our festivals are finding their life in tatters as COVID19 pandemic continues to steamroll their livelihood.
Idol maker Banikar Andia of Kathuapatna in Jagatsinghpur district said his livelihood is in ruins with no work and money. Same is the story of 20 odd artisan families residing in Kathuapatna after being hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The place that usually gets filled with the hustle and bustle of Puja Pandal members and huge idols of Lord Ganesha at this time of the year; one can only see a few small idols made only for individuals as no community celebration is allowed this year.
“We usually sell 70-80 small and large Ganapati idols by this time every year, but this year is different. Till now I have sold only 20-30 small idols,” said Banikar.
With business in a slump, Banikar urged the government to provide some financial assistance.
Parbati Andia, another artisan rued the fact that the Ganesh Puja celebrations are allowed within the confines of homes and community celebration is barred. “Last year we had advance payments for idols, but this year business has dried up,” said Parbati.
In Keonjhar, around 15 families in Old Town area who eke out their living by making and selling earthen-idols are anxiously waiting for customers, but to no avail.
Idol maker Ratnakar Mohapatra said, “We usually don’t find time during this time of the year. But sadly there is no footfall this year.”
“We did not make large idols as we knew that business will be hit. But surprisingly, we are not even finding buyers for small idols,” rued Gagan Bihari Jena, another artisan.
(Edited By Bikram Keshari Jena)