Kolkata (West Bengal) [India]: Amid the cloud of uncertainty due to the COVID pandemic, the idol makers of Kumartuli in Kolkata are hopeful of doing better business in Durga Puja this season compared to the last year.
Speaking to ANI, artisan Mintu Pal said, “The situation has improved from what it was in 2020. Due to COVID, we suffered huge losses last year. Now we hope to recover that money. Even just a month ago the condition was very bad. At that time we were not receiving orders. It is after Rath Yatra that we are getting orders.” Pal said that due to receiving orders late, the idol makers are working very fast.
“This time we have started work accordingly as the order arrived. We have very little time in hand. We have to complete the work within one month. Just 40-45 days left for the Puja,” he stated.
Pal said initially they were worried over whether the Durga Puja will be held or not. He said that many organisers settled for smaller idols of 6-7 feet height instead of the average 12-13 feet due to the lack of funds and sponsorships.
“It is also being said that the third wave of COVID is likely to come in September-October. For this reason, people are a little worried. Last year, our income reduced by 40 per cent. This year also we are expecting losses because people keep requesting to reduce the size of idols, but they do not understand that the materials and effort required in making them remain the same,” he explained.
Pal said that he makes 40-45 idols every year but this year the orders are a little less. Pal also receives orders from abroad.
“The idols that were to go abroad have been sent because only a few days are left for the puja. I have sent the Durga idols to New Jersey and other places in the USA, Berlin and Singapore. In 2019, eight idols were sent abroad from my workshop and about 100 idols from Kumartuli. This year only about 30 to 35 idols have been sent abroad,” he said.
Kumartuli is a locality of the artisan community in Kolkata that supplies idols of gods and goddesses to various parts of the country and abroad. The artists earn the most during the Durga Puja, the biggest festival in West Bengal.
Artists are busy finishing idols of Goddess Durga at the Kumartuli workshop with splashes of hope.