At a time when clay modellers’ bub Kumartuli struggles to turn around amid mounting losses due to the lockdown, a prominent artisan has offered to give 20 per cent discount for booking a Durga idol online during the period.
The offer, claimed to be the first in the history of Kumartuli, was made by Prodyut Paul, a potter. He uploaded several
images of Durga idols created by his studio in the past decades on his Facebook for the customers to choose from.
“The offer is for the lockdown period only. It will end if the lockdown is lifted or bookings for a certain number of idols are made,” he said. Paul said he was forced to make this move after suffering huge losses due to the lockdown and cancellation of several bookings from within the country and abroad.
“A big size Durga idol may cost anything between Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 2 lakh. However, this year most puja organisers have offered to pay less than half of that. I hope the discount will help both them and us,” he said. He is happy that puja organisers have taken interest in the offer.
“One big puja organiser from Kankinara (in North 24 Parganas district) has booked a Durga idol after selecting it from the images uploaded on Facebook. Talks are also on with four-five others,” Paul said.
To a question, he said work in Kumartuli can start in full swing if labourers, who have been stuck in their native places since the lockdown, return.
“But we need some assistance from the state government to tide over the situation,” he said.
Paul’s Shilpo Bharati studio was the first to set the trend of online booking for overseas pujas years ago when Kumartuli was more accustomed to expatriate Bengalis visiting studios and paying in wads of cash.
A spokesmperson of Kumartuli Mritshilpo Samity, an organisation of the clay modellers, said no idol maker had made any such offer in the past. “The situation is bad and that perhaps forced him to take such a decision. But at the same time, we can also see that puja organisers have started visiting Kumartuli of late, he added.