A group of idol-makers from Rajasthan, who made the town their second home several years ago, are staring at grim business prospects with the coronavirus crisis threatening to take the sheen off the Ganesh Chathurthi festivities slated for next month.

The Rajasthan-based artisans, having expertise in making idols of deities and other aesthetically appealing objects, are presently reeling under the ripple effects of the pandemic with sharp fall in sale of idols.

Trying times

Amid these trying times, the artisans are struggling to eke out a living to feed their families in their roadside makeshift sheds-cum-dwellings at Gopalapuram on the Wyra road near here.

“Coronavirus crisis has inflicted a severe blow to our trade ahead of the prime festive season,” said Bheru Lal, an idol maker from Rajasthan.“There are hardly any takers for the impressive range of idols of Lord Krishna, Saibaba and other deities besides attractive figurines of varied sizes and myriad hues,” he said, adding that only a few buyers were turning up mostly for “dishti bommas” (figures resembling a demon-like effigy) which were displayed in front of shops and homes to ward off “evil eye.”

“The crisis hit us at a crucial time when the orders for preparation of Ganesha idols usually pour in — during July. But this time we are facing a precarious situation owing to the pandemic outbreak,” he said.

“Lots of hard work, substantial investment on procurement of raw materials and, above all, artistry goes into making an idol,” said Babu Ram, another artisan from Rajasthan’s Pali district.

Last year’s surplus stocks of Ganesha idols were still lying unsold on their roadside makeshift sheds, he said.

“We are praying for divine intervention of Lord Ganesha, the destroyer of obstacles, to clear the hurdles and help us surmount these hard times,” said Babu Ram with folded hands.

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