VIJAYAWADA: Traditional artisans and idol makers in and around Vijayawada pin hopes on good sales this year ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi on August 31.Several artists from neighbouring districts and North India have come here as there were no COVID-19 restrictions and things seem to be back to normal.
When TNIE visited the temporary workshops arranged at Nunna Mango Yard premises on the city suburbs here on Tuesday, several traditional artisans were busy giving finishing touches to Ganesh idols as the festival date was approaching. They were expecting good sales this season as the Ganesh Utsavam organisers had placed orders.
Besides that, the city police also set up a Unified Police Service Centre (UPSC) to provide single window clearance from various departments for the Ganesh pandals. G Mahesh, who owns a workshop at Nunna Mango Market Yard, recalled that he had a poor business since 2020 due to the Covid pandemic.
“This year, we are expecting good business as the restrictions related to COVID-19 are not in force. Ganesh Utsavam organisers from neighbouring Eluru, West Godavari and Guntur are thronging the workshops and placing the orders for various sizes of the idols ranging between 5 and 15 ft,” he said. Mahesh took a loan of Rs 2 lakh from a moneylender at high interest as capital for making the idols the previous year. But due to poor business, around 100 finished idols of sizes from 3 feet to 10 feet were kept aside.
The prices of raw materials like gypsum powder, watercolour and spray gun increased three times when compared to 2019. “Keeping this in mind and to avoid any risks, this year, I have decided to keep those idols on display for sales. Ten-feet idols used to be about Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000 in the previous season; the same is being sold between Rs 25,000 and Rs 30,000,” he said.
Another idol maker P Poorna Chandra Raju said that the demand for eco-friendly idols of Lord Ganesh has increased in the city.Several utsav organisers are preferring to purchase the idols between 3 ft-10 ft to celebrate the festival. Mostly, the idols with the heights between 2.5 feet and 4 feet are in high demand and the cost varies between Rs 8,000 to Rs 12,000.
“We are also accepting the orders from the Utsavam organisers and making the clay idols customised as per their requirements,” he said. Meanwhile, the Utsavam organisers expressed their ire against the state government’s decision to collect fee for setting up the pandals.
Sri Siddhi Vinayaka Utsava Committee, which has been organising the festival for the last two decades in Governorpet, found fault with the government. Committee Founder President D Radha Krishna said that for the last two years, Ganesh pandals were not erected due to the pandemic. This year, many of them are planning to celebrate the festival in a grand manner.
“How can the government ask the Utsavam organisers to pay a fee for conducting the festivities? The decision is highly deplorable. Instead it should provide permissions through a single window system from various departments and ensure the festival celebrations are held in a peaceful manner,” he said.