Maharashtra’s gigantic and popular festival Ganesh Chaturthi (August 22) is knocking at the door and many sculptors are unfortunately struggling with insufficient demand due to the ongoing pandemic.
Neelima Bhagwat, who exhibits her stalls in various parts of Delhi, says, “I am getting few orders but the demand is low as compared to previous years. Usually, this is a very busy period for us because of upcoming festivals. This year mostly customers are first calling us and then coming to pick their orders otherwise till last year people were rushing into shops till the last days.”
She further adds that there has been a decrease in demand for big sized idols. “Mostly, puja pandals would order for bigger idols that would be customised but they have also opted for smaller ones this year,’’ she says.
There has been no news regarding those who have stocked idols this year and are taking up only orders for customisation. Kalu, a Delhi based idol maker, who has been in this business for the past 17 years, has dropped plans of exhibiting stalls this year, as he cannot witness any surge in demands.
“Every year, we sell idols near Akshardham but this year I have not kept any idols ready as I cannot see any demand at all. If someone calls us to place an order for 12-15 idols, then we might make it on an urgent basis. The reason is that the mud used to make these idols comes from Kolkata and we have to first invest a good amount of money from our own pockets, which is currently a difficult thing to do,” he says.
Lack of proper clarity on the expected demand is further worsening the woes of idol makers as they are confused whether they should go ahead and stock up or just sculpt idols on per demand basis.
“Till this time, we usually get an idea about the demand in the market but right now everything is very unclear. We used to have 15 people to make orders and now it has been reduced to just five as we are not getting many orders from any of the cities,” says Nitesh Bharadwaj, a Jaipur based Idol maker, who supplies in many metropolitan cities including Delhi.