Artisans find the going tough to mould Ganeshas

Artisans find the going tough to mould Ganeshas

Given its mandate to preserve City’s eco-milieu, environment friendly may be the watchword for Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) with Ganesha idols. Artistans, however, are, hard put to procure clay for making idols to suit board’s aspirations.

Left with no choice, they are largely taking recourse to using Plaster of Paris (POP) for their figurines, which contain several harmful chemicals.

National Referral Centre for Lead Poisoning of India Principal Advisor N Shashidhara said POP idols have lot of plastic and toxic materials. Hence, it does not get immersed and floats on water, forming a layer on the surface, gradually killing all microbes thereby reducing entry of oxygen into the lake.

They are painted with over 18 gm of chemical paints containing toxic materials. But they are preferred because they are light and attractive. 

Earlier, clay was easily available in City lake beds. But with dwindling lakes, clay is difficult to get. Manufacturers are forced to get clay from Tumkur, Kanakapura, Devanahalli, Chikkaballapur and far flung areas, making it expensive proposition, said Mohan, an artisan. Kumar, another artisan, said There is shortage of artisans trained in making clay idols. While, there is some demand for clay idols, most is for POP idols.

Vignesh, from Sri Vinayaka & Co, said demand for POP idols is high because of their looks. Clay idols do not look attractive to customers.

Some artisans are bringing clay from distant places to make eco-friendly idols, and are expensive, they are elicting people’s interest.

Joy Tara Maa Proprietor Mahadev Lal, artisan from Kolkata, gets clay from Ganga Basin in Kolkata, and mixes it with clay obtained from Devanahalli.

“I pay over Rs 7,000 for a sack of clay. Ganga clay is better because it is smooth and provides a shiny finish. Though bit costly people do buy as it is eco-friendly,” he said.

KSPCB Chairman Vaman Acharya said training, with help of various institutions, is being imparted to artisans since last two years. Though POP idols are available, clay idols are gradually becoming popular. So far, around 12,000 idols have been booked. The move towards eco-Ganesha idols is gradual. We want people to preserve them so that can be exchanged with others next year.”

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