VISAKHAPATNAM: The 400-year-old Etikoppaka toy-making art is on the decline. With no support from the government for decades, Etikoppaka villagers, who are masters in carving out magnificent wooden toys and crafts, that once commanded a huge demand throughout the country, have abandoned the art.
Narrating their struggle for survival to TNIE, artisans blame lack of adequate wood to make the products and stiff competition from mushrooming China-made toys in the market for their misery. Even the Geographical Indication (GI) tag from the Geographical Indication Registry (GIR), which was given last year, did not save the art from decline. In the face of uncertain future, none of the artisans is encouraging their children to carry forward their hereditary profession. Sadly, Etikoppaka toy-making is facing extinction.
K Srinu, 45, is an expert in carving out wooden toys and jewellery at Etikoppaka, which is on the banks of Varaha river in Visakhapatnam district. He has been in the profession for the last 30 years and works from 9 am to 5 pm every day. He received many awards at the state and national level. “My love for carving toys never waned and it was recognised by the State and the Centre. It gives immense pleasure when we come out with a beautiful product,” says Srinu with pride, showing his certificates of excellence. P6