Manasha, Durga idol makers stare at losses this festive season in Silchar, amid Corona Pandemic

Silchar, July 17 : With the ongoing corona pandemic and its reasoned lockdown, artisans’ hub are among the worst hit sectors, with many puja organizers calling off or informing for so amidst the fear of novel covid situation.

For craftsman, July and August occurs to be crucial as they start making idols of different sizes for goddess Manasha (locally known as Bishori puja) and Durga after getting orders from festival organizers and Utsav Committees. “We used to get orders for Manasha idol by this time” Gopal Paul, an idol maker here at Silchar said, adding that this time they are yet to receive any call for order.

“It’s almost 4 months since the lockdown started but our ordeals are yet to abate. Coronavirus has struck a deadly blow to the entire artisans. On an average 7-8 Basanti idols (Durga puja in month of April) remained unsold in each artisan shop of Cachar district, with many cancelled at the last moment” said Paul, who is also secretary of the Cachar Zilla Mrit Shilpi Samittee.

Even as lockdown restrictions been relaxed with unlock 1.0, the situation has not improved much for the artisans. “It is tough period for us. In our district there are around 400-450 families whose livelihood depends on making idols. We have given memorandum to the Chief Minister of Assam and all MLAs of the district regarding our sufferings and financial crunch but yet to get any positive response” Paul mentioned.

Another craftsman, Ranjit Paul, said they have invested all their wealth and capital to make idols prior to lockdown, but with cancellation of orders, it got blocked. “There are many craftsmen who belong to West Bengal but due to lockdown they got stranded here. We have to pay them regularly” Ranjit Paul said, adding that they are worst affected but less spoken about.

“Artisans’ hubs are wearing a deserted look and it’s totally uncertain, with how much ecstasy upcoming festivals will be celebrated this year” he concluded.

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