Artisans cite difficulty in transporting clay, unable to cater to demand for Vinayakar idols

However, they alleged that they are unable to meet the demands due to various reasons, including lack of clay and the district guidelines allowing clay to be transported in bullock carts.
Artisans cite difficulty in transporting clay, unable to cater to demand for Vinayakar idols

DHARMAPURI: With less than a week left before Vinayakar Chaturthi celebration, artisans from Adhiyamankottai are delighted as the demand for Vinayaka idol is high after more than two years of Covid-19.

However, they alleged that they are unable to meet the demands due to various reasons, including lack of clay and the district guidelines allowing clay to be transported in bullock carts. K Indrani, an artisan from Adhiyamankottai, said, “The people are planning for a grand celebration after two years, which is apparent from the increase in orders. There are over 25 family owned businesses making statues, pots and lamps.

This year, everyone of these businesses has numerous orders and we are unable to meet the demands. Most of our statues are eco-friendly and we only make clay idols, which dissolve in water easily.”
Another artisan V Satheesh Kumar said, “We only make relatively smaller statues, ranging from half-a-feet to 10 feet, which cost between `20 to `25,000 depending on the size.

Because of the traditional methods that we follow when we make idols, like not using chemical substitutes and oil paint, the government guidelines have not affected us much. Due to this, we have seen high demand from traders of Salem, Coimbatore, Erode, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.” P Aiyannar, another artisan said, “One of the difficulties we face when making idols is the lack of good clay. We need best clay, which is not available nearby.

Also, over the past two years, the district administration and DRDA have issued guidelines for us to only transport clay using bullock carts. This has reduced our efficiency and we have to give up on many orders. At least during the Vinayakar Chaturthi or during Dussehra, the administration should allow an exception.”
Officials from District Rural Development Agency told TNIE, “The move to allow only bullock carts is to prevent sand smuggling. Many brick kilns use trucks under the guise of artisans to take mud from lakes illegally, and hence this move has been established.”

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