Jagatsinghpur, Oct 21 (LocalWire): As Chinese lights invaded the markets, the potters from Lunakua village in Kujang block who make traditional earthen lamps are afraid they might spend a dark Diwali this year.
Nearly 117 families of potters did brisk business at this time of the year as people considered it auspicious to buy diyas (earthen lamps) to light their homes during Diwali but this year they are struggling to sell even a few hundred diyas due to the high demand of Chinese electrical lights.
These traditional potter families make different types of diyas like Bohu (daughter-in-law) diya, sakhi (toy) diya, suryamukhi (sun-facing) diya, golei (round) diya and other varieties of diyas in attractive colours on the occasion of Diwali. The cost of a diya ranges from Rs 2 to Rs 50 as per its size and design.
The demand of these diyas is high in states like Karnataka, West Bengal, Rajasthan and cities like Chandigarh.
Makers of traditional earthen lamps said ‘earlier we sold bohu, sakhi diyas at Rs 25 to Rs 30 per piece but this year we sold it at half rate as people are preferring electric diyas, lights and other Chinese products.’
People prefer Chinese lights as they are not only cheap but also easy to handle as these glow throughout the night.
Malati Dei from Lunakua said ‘Earlier, lakhs of rupees used to be generated by making small diyas that were sold at Re 1 or Rs 2 per piece and we could easily maintain our livelihood for a year. Now, we are making costly and decorative traditional earthen lamps yet facing stiff competition’.
Another potter Niranjan Behera rued ‘Many diya makers are unable to face competition with the Chinese lights or diyas and have stopped making diyas and are working as daily labourers, while others have migrated to other states in search of jobs. This year, my family crafted only 1,000 diyas and even though this number is low, we are worried that even these might not get sold.’
Chief of District Supply and Marketing Society, Satyasunder Sibram Paital, said, ‘To promote the traditional art and design, District Rural Development Agency extended financial assistance of Rs 92,000 to a women’s group in 2016 -2017 and Rs 2.40 lakh in 2017- 2019 to another group to become self-reliant and steps have been taken for marketing their earthen lamps and other produce’.