Sanjoy Kr Hazarika
DERGAON, April 11: After passing through a bad phase, the dhol-makers of Dergaon are now hoping that Rongali Bihu will bring them good fortune and that they would be able to earn substantially in the next one month or so, before the second wave of Covid-19 assumes deadlier proportions to peg them back yet again.
Due to the pandemic, like countless other businesses, the business of dhol selling and repairing, too, had screeched to a halt in this town in the past one year and the people involved in this trade had to go through a difficult time, perhaps for the first time in their life in business.
Now fully rejuvenated to cash in on this festive time, the dhol-makers of this area are sweating it out to get as many customers as possible, keeping the lingering fear of another Covid-induced misery at bay.
Yet, things are not moving on as they had expected. Ramesh Badyakar (70), owner of Kamakhya Badya Bhandar, one of the established dhol-selling and repairing centres of Dergaon, for instance, is unhappy that the number of customers to his centre has been rather low.
“Though we are ready to serve the customers, the response from them has been far from satisfactory,” Badyakar said while talking to this correspondent.
He said he has been carrying on with this mode of livelihood since his childhood as the centre was established by his father Debendra Badyakar way back in 1932. At his centre, the price of a new dhol is in the range of Rs 3,500 to Rs 7,000 depending upon certain factors, while the charge of repairing a dhol ranges between Rs 2,200 and Rs 2,500, he said.
He said the novel coronavirus has literally devastated everyone involved in this trade.
“We are also hugely affected by the scarcity of raw materials like wood. As you know, we need wood of trees like mango, jackfruit and saam. The scarcity has posed a serious threat to us,” he added.
Like Badyakar, Nepal Das, owner of Sriguru Badya Bhandar, established in 1986 at Barua Bamungaon, is unhappy as well.
“I’m in good spirits now and busy round the clock, but, due to a scarcity of raw materials, coupled with manpower shortage caused by the just-concluded election, the picture on the monetary front is far from rosy for us at this point in time,” Das lamented.