In less than three months from now, people will throng the Puja pandals to witness Maa Durga in her myriad avatars. While most idols will be the traditional clay ones, others will be themed with artistic expressions. And though the budget for the latter is dependent on the materials used, that for the former is market-controlled.
Apart from the labourers, the materials required to make a traditional Durga idol are clay, coir, bamboo, wood, hay, cotton clothes and ornaments. And each of these commodities, including labour, has become dearer in the past couple of years. As a result, the cost of making a medium-sized (8-8.5-foot) idol now comes to around `45,000-50,000, pushing the selling price up to a minimum of `55,000-60,000.
Babu Pal, ex-secretary and spokesperson of Mritshilpa Sanskriti Samity, told Times of India, “This year, the prices of Durga idols have to hiked by at least 30-35%. Otherwise, it will be impossible for the artisans to survive. Prices of everything — right from clay to labor — have been increased sharply in recent times. We hike the prices of idols by 15-20% every year, but this time, the increase has to be more. Moreover, the competition is so tough that most Kumartuli artisans are forced to sell idols at marginal profits so that they don’t lose clients.” he added.
Source: Times of India
Photo by Avik Chakraborty