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Bleak Diwali for Jharkhand potters

Ranchi, Oct 20 (IANS) Diwali has not brought cheers to Jharkhand potters who make earthen diyas, their business hit by the trend of designer lamps and rising cost of raw materials.

Friday, October 20, 2006 | 8:46:24 AM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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Ranchi, Oct 20 (IANS) Diwali has not brought cheers to Jharkhand potters who make earthen diyas, their business hit by the trend of designer lamps and rising cost of raw materials.

The potters find it difficult to compete, and their next generation is switching to other businesses.

There was a time when the potters would await Diwali. Now it hardly makes any difference.

'The diyas have been replaced by designed lamps, candles, bulbs and other things. People prefer the sophisticated electronic lamps and other embellishments,' said Ram Bachan Prajapati, an earthen pot seller in the Doranda area here.

Ganesh Mahto, another seller, echoes the sentiments. 'The soaring prices of raw materials and change of taste of people have dealt a blow to our business. We are carrying the traditional system of making earthen diyas and pots but the number of buyers is declining,' he said.

'In 2004 I sold around 12,000 pieces of diyas. This came down to 7,000 in 2005. I do not know what it will be this year. I have prepared raw materials for only 5,000 diyas this year,' he said.

Said seller Shivapujan Manjhi: 'Earlier we were taking soil free of cost but now we have to buy one truck of soil for Rs.800-1,000. The prices of coal, wood and other material used in preparing diyas have also gone up.'

Earlier, 100 diyas were available for Rs.5 or 10 but now they cost up to Rs.60.

Even housewives prefer the designer diyas.

'It is indeed a tough task to wash the earthen diyas, put oil and prepare the cotton thread to light it. We buy 10 to 15 diyas only to light before Ganesh and Lakshmi,' said Shashi Prabha Pandey, a housewife.

The next generations of potters are opting for other occupations.

'I do not want to meet the fate of my father. Even during Diwali he is unable to earn enough,' said Anuj Kumar.

Copyright : Indo-Asian News Service
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