Ganesha idol-makers feel the pinch of drought

Severe drought that has rocked the State — with H D Kote, Nanjangud and T Narsipur taluks in Mysuru district too declared drought-hit — clay idol makers in the city are feeling the pinch ahead of Gowri-Ganesha festival.

With over a fortnight left for the festival on September 16 and 17, the idol makers at Kumbargeri, the potter’s colony off Sayyaji Rao Road here, are waiting for rural customers aka farmers to place the orders. Though the families of potters here cater to the demand of both urban and rural customers, village folks form a regular base of devout customers.

Although only three taluks in the district are declared drought-hit, the farmers in the remaining four taluks too have remained oblivious, Revanna, an idol-maker, said.

Revanna told Deccan Herald, “During the corresponding period in the previous years, I had received orders for 40 to 50 idols from villages like Jayapura, Udbur, besides Koorgalli and Yelwal that are contiguous with the border of Mysuru city. This time, it is exactly opposite with lukewarm response”.

He said, “I have been supplying idols to villages since 20 years. It is a bitter experience this year due to drought and other agriculture-related issues.”

Unlike the organisations in the city, who celebrate the festival in public, irrespective of donation,  it is only a good spell of rain that heralds festive mood for rural folks. It is obvious for their dampened spirit, Revanna said.

For them, a minimum of four-foot to eight-foot idol is a must, he said recalling previous years’ orders from villagers. However, the good news is the availability of clay due to dried-up water bodies. If the lakes were full, it would have been difficult to remove clay from the bed, considered most suitable for idols.

There has been an increase in demand for eco-friendly idols in the last five years from urban customers. Schools and colleges prefer such environment-friendly idols, irrespective of size.

Taking cognisance of the call for using non-hazardous materials in making idols, the idol-makers too have opted for water-based paints with light colours. The idol seekers too ask for idols with decent paints, Revanna said.

Commissioner appeals

Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) Commissioner C G Betsurmath has also appealed to the public not to use idols made of plaster of paris (PoP) and painted with hazardous chemicals. Such idols may also pollute water bodies after it is immersed in water, he said.

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