COVID-19: Ganesh idol making artisans face livelihood crisis

Hyderabad: With the Telangana government calling for a low-key Ganpati celebrations this year in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the livelihoods of people associated with the festivities, which generate a turnover of more than Rs 20 to 30 crore every year in Telangana, are adversely affected.

There are about 7,000 Ganesh mandals set up in the state every year. 

The President of the Bhagyanagar Ganesh Utsav Samiti — an umbrella body coordinating between the civic body — government and Ganesh mandals told nearly one lakh idols are installed by citizens throughout their homes every year.

“There is a small industry which works during the festival involving flower vendors, electricians, those selling items like bamboo for setting up mandaps, those providing transportation facilities, artisans and many more,” he said.

Artisans are in huge trouble this year as they survive and dependent on Ganesh festival. The Dhoolpet area in Mangalhat which is one of the largest idols making market in the city which has over 36,000 artisans families living in this area from year. They are surviving by making Ganesh and other idols. 

Speaking to, Kailash Singh Hazari an artisan who is popularly known as ‘Murthy Kalakaar’ and Vice-President of Telangana Ganesh Welfare Samithi said, “The decision of government has kept us in huge trouble. As a few days are left for the festival, we have not been able to make 100 idols due to the crunch of labourers.

The idol making artisans have not been able to place the orders for raw materials due to COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s late decision. There are some small artisans who take lakhs of rupees on debt with interest to make idols. They then sell them because this is the only talent they have which they can use for survival, as due to low key celebrations of Ganesh festival we won’t be able to make more idols. They will not be able to earn,” said Kailash Singh. 

“The Telangana government should also focus on the residents of Dhoolpet and the artisans community and provide some aid to us for the survival of our children,” Kaiksah Singh, demanded. 

This year will be the toughest year for the artisans of Dhoolpet. Several idol makers ask for help from the Telangana government. Some of the idol makers there have already set up shop and kept them ready and are expecting customers. 

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