Valpoi: Traditional clay Ganesh idol makers from Sattari, who have been involved in the trade for the past four decades, have demanded that the Goa Government hike the subsidy in making of such idols.
They claimed that the mud bought from the neighbouring States and the colours used have become expensive.
They claimed that at present the artisans get a subsidy of Rs 100 per idol, subject to a maximum amount Rs 15,000 per artisan as per predefined criteria. This scheme is implemented through Goa Handicrafts Rural and Small Scale Industries Development Corporation.
“In rural areas, we cannot increase the price of Ganesh idols, which is around Rs 500 to 800 per idol. The villagers from remote areas normally bargain and try to get the idols for a less amount. Since we get only Rs 100 as subsidy per idol we demand that the same be hiked to at least Rs 400 for artisans in the rural areas, Anand Gaonkar, a Ganesh idol maker demanded.
“I am making Ganesh idols in Dabose for the past 40 years. Now, I am selling one idol for Rs 500, the price of which is often bargained by the locals. However, the same idol is sold for Rs 5,000 in Sanquelim, Bicholim and Mapusa. Taking into account the expensive mud we buy from Maharashtra and the quality colour, we are not making any profits from these clay idols,” claimed Tulshidas Gaonkar, another idol maker.
“The clay in Goa, which was used earlier to make Ganesh idols, is bad. It contains tiny stones and if such clay is used the idols develop cracks. I stopped using Goan clay and at present I have been buying clay from Maharashtra for the past 12 years. They charge Rs 10,000 for a truck, plus transport and other charges. It is no longer feasible for us to make clay idols,” said Rohidas Gaonkar, an idol maker from Pali.
“Some people in Goa are making the Plaster of Paris Ganesh idols. We demand that the government take action against them”, said Rohidas Gaonkar. [H]