Kendrapara: With no Ganesh Puja event taking place in public this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, around 300 idol makers of the coastal district of Kendrapara and its nearby areas are staring at huge losses during the Puja season.
August to November is the peak season for the idol makers as they make hundreds of earthen idols of Maa Khudurukani, Lord Ganesh, Viswakarma, Maa Durga, Maa Gajalaxmi and Maa Kali for their respective pujas.
Authorities have already banned Ganesh Puja (scheduled for August 22) in the pandals as a result of which uncertainty is looming around the Khudurukani puja (9th August), Viswakarma Puja (16th September), Durga Puja (22nd October), Laxmi Puja (14th November) and Kali Puja (14th November).
Puja Committees have also been directed not to start any advance preparations regarding the celebration of Durga Puja for which idol makers are feeling the pinch.
“The cancellation of Ganesh Puja in educational institutions and other public places is going to have a significant impact on our income. However, people can celebrate Puja at their homes, for which we are making small earthen idols.
The government has not made it clear whether Durga Puja will be celebrated this year or not.
However, we are still optimistic that COVID-19 virus will disappear within a month and Durga Puja and other Pujas might take place and Durga Puja could help arrest some of the losses,” said Sova Moharana, 40, of Kamarakhandi village, while colouring an earthen idol.
Idol making is the profession of our family, however, COVID-19 has hit our work severely. Most of the idol makers of the district used to supply idols to Cuttack, Bhubaneswar and other parts of the state.
Earlier I used to receive over 50 orders but this time, I have not received any so far.
Now, we are struggling as the coronavirus will lead to a toned down or cancellation of Durga Puja and other festivals this year.
It is a bad phase for our business. We are now in great distress,” said Maheswar Behera of Kumbharapada.