GOKAK: The recent floods have turned the lives of Ganesha idol-makers of Konnur in Gokak taluk upside-down. More than 3.5 lakh eco-friendly idols have been destroyed ruining the lives of about 300 families belonging to the Kumbhar community.
According to members of the Kad Siddeshwar Ittangi Mattu Kumbharike Samanagala Utpadaka Sahakari Sangh — the society formed by the idol-makers in 1962 — the loss this time is so enormous that it will take at least 4 years for them to recover.
Sangh founder of Appanna Shekharappa Kumbhar said, “We are wholesalers who have taken advance from customers and worked for 12 months to supply them eco-friendly Ganesha idols. We were about to supply the idols when floods hit us.”
Ruing that no official visited them to inspect the loss owing to the floods, Appanna said, “We saw floods in 2005 too... but it did not affect us. But as a precautionary measure, we increased the height of the workshop by 4 ft... but this water reached 11 ft. There was no time to save the idols.”
With the festival fast approaching, idol-makers have started making fresh eco-friendly idols with the leftover raw material.
Channabasappa Tirkannavar, supervisor, said raw material mixing machine worth Rs 15 lakh, seven compressors, water pumps and other items, including raw material used to make the idols have been washed away in the floods.
An idol measuring 1ft is sold for Rs 130, which is sold in the market for approximately Rs 500 to Rs 700.