GAURIPUR, Aug 30 - The idol-makers of greater Gauripur area have been struggling for their livelihood since March last as they have been forced to sit idle due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
No organisers of puja committees or individuals have placed orders to make idols of Durga and as a result these people have lost hope of their annual earnings. Besides, they also make idols of Lord Ganesh, Biswakarma, Lord Shiva, Saraswati, Lakshmi, Kali etc., to meet the demands of the customers. But this year, such puja festivals are not being held and as a result the idol-makers have remained jobless.
There are more than 40 idol-makers in the area. They are Binoy Paul, Babul Paul, Manindra Malakar, Sudhir Paul, Rajesh Paul, Bikash Paul, Ram Dulal Paul, Rintu Paul, Gopinath Paul, Karen Malakar, Dhiren Paul and a few others. Considering their uncertain future, they have formed a committee headed by Binoy Kumar Paul and Babul Paul as president and secretary respectively and approached the local MLA Nizanur Rahman and submitted a memorandum to help them to somehow survive. The MLA handed them an amount of Rs 10,000/- and the amount was distributed among the needy idol-makers. The MLA assured them that he will place their demand before the Chief Minister.
This year Durga Puja is scheduled to be held from October 22 to 26 next, but till date the idol-makers have not received any order from the puja committees.
Generally, two to three months are necessary to make an idol ready for delivery, but due to high price of the material at source, they have failed to collect the material, for which their future remains bleak.
Last year, some idol- makers sold the idol of Goddess (big size) Durga at Rs 80,000 -Rs 1 lakh, medium size at Rs 50,000 to Rs 70,000 and the smaller ones at Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000. But this year due to the abnormal situation and lockdown, they have not collected the costly material and even the adhesive clay due to incessant rains and floods for making the idols.
The present condition of the idol-makers is obviously beyond description and they need financial assistance from the government so that they can survive and continue their profession like in previous years.