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Pinch of inflation! Idols to cost more in this festive season?

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  14 Sep 2016 12:00 AM GMT

Artisans racing against the clock to meet the timeline

By our Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Sept 13: The devotees of Vishwakarma feel the pinch of inflation. The idols of God Vishwakarma are set to cost more.

The costs of raw materials for making idols are very high. The cost of an idol in the city could range from Rs 150-8,000 apiece. Each sheath of paddy straw required in the manufacture idols costs Rs 80. Three different types of clays are needed for the making of idols. While the Ganga clay that comes from Kolkata costs Rs 300 per sac containing 15 kg, the clay from paddy fields costs Rs 8,000 per truck and the silt collected from river banks costs Rs 6,000 per truck.

Wood is also a must so as to give idols their tensile strength. The price of per cubic ft of non-sal wood ranges from Rs 1200-1400. Colours and orments also come from Kolkata at high prices.

An eight-foot-tall idle needs a three-metre-long dhoti while the length of the angabastra is two metres and a half. Such cloths also cost much in the market.

With barely two days are to go for the puja, the few artisans attached to the business in the city are racing against the clock. There are three artisan establishments at Lachit gar, two at Panbazar and five at Pandu in the city. All these are traditiolly involved in the occupation. There are also some other artisans that keep sprawling elsewhere in the city.

Talking to this reporter artisan Amit Paul, the owner of Lakshmi Shilpalaya in Panbazar in the city, said: “This has been our family business, since the days of my great grandfather. However, now it’s becoming a challenging task to remain in the business. Inflation has its fallout on the market. Gone are the days when we didn’t have to pay any VAT or sales tax while bringing raw materials for making idols from elsewhere in the country. Now we’ve to pay VAT as well as sales tax. We do feel the pinch. This is not all. The wages of workers whom we engage have also gone up many folds, adding to the cost of the finished products.”

Paul lamented that there has been no help for the revival of the craft from the State Government side. “In States like West Bengal, helps keep coming from the government to the industry,” he added.

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