The dusty little town of Dhanaula near Barnala on the Chandigarh-Bathinda highway, famous for its wooden miniature toys, will lose its tag and livelihood. With NH 64 being diverted, travellers will no longer be able to stop here and buy miniature handcrafted rustic wooden trucks, tractors, jeeps, oil tankers, bullock carts, etc., killing the business of 25-odd generations-old shops.
Two dozen households make the toys, which sell for `100-800, with each shop doing business worth `2,000 per day. “Now we will have to relocate, start a new business or get a job to make our ends meet. NRIs used to buy our toys to show their children and grand-children their old culture,” says Raju, a toy seller. Congress MLA Kewal Dhillon says, “I am not opposed to development, but instead of diverting the highway, the government should have widened the road and let it pass from through Dhanaula to save the livelihood of these people. My requests to the government went unheard.”