QUEEN'S ROAD: On the streets off R V Road, families walk around looking for the best idols to take back home. Noisy groups of youngsters hold up traffic as they crowd around vendors and bargain before carting away huge Ganesha idols. If the bustle at the city’s biggest market is anything to go by, the recent load-shedding has not dampened the festive spirit one bit.
According to a youth association, around 2,000 groups have been formed over the years just to celebrate the festival in various parts of the city. A group of 15 people from Domlur Youth Association from Shankar Nag Road, Domlur, said they were aware of the load-shedding and have already decided to get generators for all the days. “Nothing can stop us from celebrating Ganesha festival. We have enquired with a generator dealer, who is charging Rs 3,000 a day. The power situation is supposed to be back to normal from September 26 but we are not taking risks. The associations that have been celebrating (the festival) for years cannot let such problems affect the festivities,” said Karthik, a member.
He said this time, vendors are quoting Rs 80,000 to Rs 1 lakh for the Ganesha idols, but added that the prices won’t deter his team.
Harish, a member of Gajajana Yuvakara Sangha, Ramamurthy Nagar, said, “We are a group of 30 youngsters and have been celebrating Ganesha festival in our area for 10 years now. Rain or shine, nothing can dampen the spirit of Ganesha festival.”
“The power situation will not be a problem. The government has announced that power cuts will be reduced soon, but we are not waiting. We have already ordered generators. This is the season for them and they are in demand. We will be charged Rs 5,000 a day. But we can’t just abandon our celebrations, which have been a custom for years. We never force the public to give us money. We accept whatever is given and the rest of the amount, we put in ourselves,” he added.
A group from Rajarajeshwari Nagar said the generator dealer there is quoting Rs 8,000 a day. “We are facing problems but we are ready. This is our second year and we want to make it a grand celebration. We have many celebrities like Darshan residing in our area and we are planning to invite them all,” said Arjun of Sarathi Geleyara Balaga.
Krishna of Gajanana Yuvakara Balaga from BEL area said, “Every year, the money comes from the group. We don’t go to the public for help. There are people who voluntarily contribute between Rs 10,000 and Rs 1 lakh.”
This time, we have managed to collect Rs 6 lakh. We are looking forward to a memorable celebration like every year.”
For some associations, the budget on idols is a lot smaller this time because of the going rate of generators. “Our budget on the idol this year is Rs 18,000,” said Shivaraj, a member Kasturi Kannada Yuvakara Association, Hebbal. “We have been celebrating Ganesha festival in our area for the past 15 years. The cost is going up every year but we are managing.”
'Onus on Govt to Supply Power': With the festival coming right after the BBMP elections this year, idol dealer Srinivas M feels newly elected corporators will get involved in the celebrations in their wards. He said the onus is on the government to supply power to ensure smooth celebrations. “This is nada habba. The government has to supply current at least during the festival. Of course, the various associations have the capacity to hire generators,” he said. “We have been selling Ganesha idols for the past 70 years. Till five years ago, we used to make only green Ganeshas. Only recently did we start using plaster of paris.”
FEW TAKERS FOR 'BAAHUBALI' IDOLS
Baahubali may be the flavour of the season but there seem to be few takers for Baahubali idols. Srinivas M, a dealer, said, “I don’t know whether they are popular in other states, but here in Bengaluru, there isn’t much demand for Baahubali-style Ganeshas. In fact, we had created one idol after a person ordered it and gave an advance of Rs 2,000. Now they don’t want the idol. There is just some initial excitement over things like this. Every year, we get enquiries about idols modelled on hit films, but they usually peter out. People don’t prefer to sell such pieces.”
SALES LIMITED THIS YEAR
This year, dealers have been given permission to sell Ganesha idols for just eight days after the festival. “We have been told that no sales should take place and no idols can be displayed on the road after this period. We will be adhering to it and will close the sales accordingly,” said Srinivas M.