Bengaluru: As a result of completely banning Plaster of Paris (POP) Ganapati idols in the state, this time there is a shortage of clay and natural colours required for the creation of clay Ganapati idols. Apart from this, the price of raw materials including clay and natural colour has also increased, burning the pockets of idol makers.
This time, there was a smile on the faces of Ganesh idol manufacturers who had been struggling for two years due to Covid. As one of them said: ‘The public has been clamouring for clay Ganpati idols. However, the price increase by the suppliers of raw materials has caused confusion. Clay is brought from Mandya, Ramanagara, Channapatna for making Ganapati idols sold in Bengaluru. We used to bring clay from lakes. Currently, the clay is not available, due to heavy rains the lakes are filled with water.’ Commenting on this, idol maker Sunil said that he has been making Ganesh idols for the last 16 years. However, this year, a large number of people are asking for clay Ganapati. This is an environmentally sound development. However, as the demand has increased, so has the price. Last year, one load of soil was Rs 50,000. Now they are asking Rs 75,000 to Rs 80,000. The cost of natural dyes has also increased. It is said that due to this, the cost of making idols has also increased by 20 per cent.
30 per cent business recovery
For the previous two years, Ganeshotsava had been a complete disappointment as Ganapati idol could not be kept in public place. It also affected our life. This year, there is some positive news on celebration of the festival and people are also preparing for the celebration. Compared to last year, there has been a 30 per cent increase in turnover, said Mahanthesh, a Ganesh idol maker.
He said that people still need to recover from Covid impact and compared to the pre-Covid years, they may not have returned to the old ways of celebrating. ‘In previous years we used to make 10,000-15,000 idols. Now we are making only 5,000. Clay idols are very difficult to maintain as compared to POP idols. The clay idols are fissured and will break if touched slightly. POP idols could have been stored for another three years. Clay idols cannot be maintained for years’, idol maker Soumya says, “So we are making the idols after people have pre-ordered them.”Earlier people were asking for 5 feet, 10 feet Ganesh idols to be installed in public, now they are installing clay idols, the maximum height purchased is 5 feet long. Now 2.5 to 3 feet Ganesh idols are being sold in large quantities. Due to this, environmental awareness has also arisen among the people. Another Idol maker, Ramesh said that this time, instead of the public installation, it is the people who do the installation in their respective homes who have partially booked in advance.