The artisan village of Kolkata, famous for clay idols, is facing hardships amidst COVID as the artists are yet to receive orders for Durga Idols from the Pujo Committees.
Kolkata: The clay structures are yet to get colored which is usually done by this time each year. The gloominess on the faces of the people along the alleys is evident as losses incurred due to COVID 19 lockdown. “We receive around 40 orders each year, this year we have hardly received any,” says Partha Pratim pal, a potter. He also exports some clay idols outside India, to Belgium, but did not receive any orders from there. “Around ten potters work with me, seven are not able to reach due to lack of transport,” says Mr. Pal.
Several artists who usually make 12ft, 10ft long height idols have received orders for shorter idols due to budget constraint. “The idol size has reduced for which the costing is very low and people are ordering EkChala (all the idols will be set against a single backdrop) idol,” says Neemai Pal, a third-generation artist.
The empty shops, clay structures laying scattered in a corner, makes the place tumbles into a dark future with no help from the State Government for the loss borne by the artists and the businessmen engaged with this industry. The century-old potter’s colony with 500 artisans and their families engaging themselves in producing over 6,000 Durga idols each year is peppered with basic hay-and-wood frames of the goddess.
Besides the artists of Kumartuli, the small scale businessmen who are the suppliers of outfits and other necessary items required to design a deity also suffers huge loss, “Our 200 years old business has never seen this kind of loss before, we purchase raw materials from outside Kolkata and due to lack of transportation we had to purchase raw materials from locals which is costing us a lot. On the other hand, there is about four percent of the sale compared to last year,” says Ranjit Das, a businessman.
The artisans’ associations’ secretary said that booking is nearly nil this year. “Both money and production ability were disturbed. Many potters who reside in Nadia, Krishnanagar district went home during lockdown, not being able to reach here,” said Karthik Pal, secretary of Potters’ Association.
Keywords: Potter, budget, less order, no income.