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Slowdown cloud on Jamshedpur Pujas

Artisans and puja organisers say that the average cost of raw materials had doubled

By Pinaki Majumdar in Jamshedpur

  • Published 4.09.19, 2:45 AM
  • Updated 4.09.19, 2:45 AM
The under-construction Durga Puja pandal at Kashidih ground in Jamshedpur on Tuesday.
The under-construction Durga Puja pandal at Kashidih ground in Jamshedpur on Tuesday. Picture by Bhola Prasad

The economic slowdown has cast a shadow on the coming Durga Puja, with the apex body that coordinates festivities in the steel city appealing to organisers to shun lavish decorations and cut costs to counter the dismal scenario compounded by rising prices of goods.

Jamshedpur Durga Puja Kendriya Samiti has decided to hold a series of meetings with organisers from Wednesday to discuss ways of tackling the crisis. “Puja organisers should abstain from lavish pandal decorations and also cut down expense on bhog which will help save cost,” samiti general secretary Ram Babu Singh told The Telegraph.

Artisans, who are in high demand, and puja organisers say that the average cost of raw materials had doubled. “The price of every item and product needed for making idols has skyrocketed. Because of this several organisers have opted for smaller idols,” said S. Paul, an idol maker at Kadma.

Singh pointed out that community puja organisers would also find it difficult to collect donations. “The industrial scenario is grim with companies like Tata Motors and its ancillary units passing through a difficult phase because of the downturn in the automobile sector. Except for Tata Steel, industrial units in other sectors are also not doing well,” he said.

H.P. Guha, a senior member of Kadma’s New Farm Area Durga Puja Committee, said getting sponsors was turning out to be a Herculean task.

“Our’s is a big budget puja running into lakhs. The cost of constructing a pandal, or the enclosure where Durga idols are housed, has gone up. The current economic slump has added to problems. We have, therefore, decided to be cautious about expenditure,” he explained.

Amid the climate of uncertainty, Durga Puja preparations have started across the steel city with pandals taking shape gradually. This year, Jamshedpur will host 315 pujas. The samiti has already appealed to organisers to opt for light-weight idols, adopting eco-friendly practices.

Puja shopping is yet to gain pace too. “Puja is a month away but sales have failed to gain momentum, be it garments, textiles or the electronics sector. We are keeping our fingers crossed. We hope that once Tata Steel and other subsidiaries announce payment of annual bonus, sales will pick up,” said a garments store owner at Bistupur market.

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