Devotees counting on Ganpati to alleviate the agony of inflation will have to pay a hefty price to worship the Lord. Sculptors say with an increase of about 30-35%, the cost of a foot-long Ganesha idol – which was Rs 1,000 to 1,500 last year – would go up to around Rs 1,800, depending upon the designs a mandal or a household picks. The reasons being cited for the escalation are the augmented rates of plaster of Paris and fuel, which means artists have to spend more on haulage of the raw materials. It’s notable that every year there’s about a 10% increase in prices of idols.
The sculptors are also complaining about the higher rates of rent for sites where they construct the idols and the labourers demanding more money. Speaking to MiD DAY, Vijay Khatu, a popular Ganesha idol maker from the city, said, “This year the statues of Lord Ganesha will cost 30 per cent more than they did last year, because the expenses on transportation, labour and raw materials have increased.”
“We find it difficult to stock raw materials because heavy rains may ruin them. So, we order the ingredients only when we have need for them. But, as we enter the peak season, dealers have started increasing the prices of plaster of Paris. As all the peripheral charges have gone up, the rates of the idols too have shot up by 35 per cent,” said Santosh Kambli, another famous artist, and the sculptor of Lalbaugcha Raja.
With the additional burden, middle class families that take Ganpati home for five to 11 days are perplexed. Dilip Shinde, a resident of Lokhandwala, said, “The government isn’t doing anything about the price rise and now even the idols have become expensive. This is such an important festival for us, but it seems we will have to cut spending on decorations to balance our budget.”
Prashant S, a resident of Matunga, said, “I usually buy a two-feet-high idol, but this year I might settle for a foot-long one, and also try and save money for two months so that the preparations for and the celebrations of Ganeshotsav are not hampered.”