Hit by impact of COVID-19, kite makers in city seek respite during Sankranti

Hyderabad: Manoj is one of the oldest kite-maker in the Dhoolpet area of the city, which is popular for its kite-making business. He made kites for over 40 years now, but none of them were as difficult as this year has been. The COVID-19 pandemic not only increased his input costs, but also dented the demand for kites and thereby, his daily income.

He is on the job to make the kites in the run-up for the kites’ festival Sankranti but is in for losses only. “I make Rs. 100 per batch, as against Rs. 120 last year. Since the sale is less, the prices of kites have come down and so have our wages. Even the prices of paper and Badda (stick) have been increased due to lockdown. One reel of paper used to cost us Rs. 1,000 this year it is increased Rs. 1200; a bundle of wooden sticks used in kite making have been priced to Rs. 350 from Rs. 80,” he said.

Kite maker Manoj Singh making kites ahead of Sankranti festival in Hyderabad.

Kites making activity in Dhoolpet one of the oldest and busiest markets of kite makers and sellers fell at record rate in December, as kite makers are not able to purchase enough paper and Badda (stick) for manufacturing kites for the upcoming Sankranti festival. Moreover, the kite traders of the Dhoolpet had a financial issue they could not purchase huge kites.

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The second wave COVID-19 outbreak has spared no sector. And the kite manufacturing, with several other small scale businesses, are among the worst affected with barely any business, as the city also witnessed heavy rains followed by floods in October.

Another kite maker of Dhoolpet giving the final touches to a bundle of kites.

Kite-makers of Dhoolpet tend to work almost round the year manufacturing kites, which are widely sold in Hyderabad during Sankranti festival. There is a separate market of kites in this area which has around 300 kite manufacturers. In every alternate house, there is a kite manufacturer.

However, thanks to the COVID-19 with lockdown, the production took a major hit with migrant workers fleeing to their home states.

Besides, various types of artisans’, including makers of Ganesh idols and others, also live in Dhoolpet. There are families in Dhoolpet, who are completely dependent on the kite business. These families start manufacturing kites several months before the festival.

Among these kite makers Madan Singh, one of the oldest kite manufacturer and owner of Sheetal Singh Patang Shaaz in Dhoolpet. Madan Singh says, “This year due to COVID-19 lockdown and heavy rains the manufacturing of kites has been reduced to 60 per cent and we hope that as kites had to fly from houses people may purchase kites.”

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With all set at his shop a kite trader in Dhoolpet waiting for the customers.

Speaking on how the lockdown impacted kites manufacturing Singh said, “Due to lockdown the material used in the making of kites prices have been increased and the manufacturing of kites has also downed. We have received fewer orders compared to last year.”

A kite trader Manish Singh from Dhoolpet said, “Parni (plastic) kites had to be imported from Kanpur and we used to sell a large number of kites during summer. But this year due to lockdown, we weren’t able to sell a single kite.”

“There are around 20 designs in kites which includes, do lango topan, chand tara, Jibiya, toppan singade, toppan, aliban, gariyal and many more,” said Manish.

Variety of kites displayed for the customers at a shop in Dhoolpet.

However, the craze for flying kites is also reduced amongst youngsters, who are busy in their routine. “As it is a tradition of flying kites, people may not be seen flying kites in large number as earlier,” Singh added.

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