With hardly a month-and-a-half left for Lord Ganpati’s arrival, sculptors in the city are working round the clock. The government, in a bid to promote eco-friendly celebrations, has set the idol makers a target of selling one-lakh eco-friendly idols this year. The sculptors, however, have asked for its help to achieve this target.
The Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS), with the help of a newly formed association of sculptors, is making eco-friendly Ganesh idols this year, and has written to the Minister of State for Environment to give sculptors some monetary help to boost the eco-friendly idols sale in the city.
The BSGSS has written to the government asking that the sculptors get R500 for every idol that they sell this year.
While about 50,000 eco-friendly idols were sold in the state last year, the state expects the sales to be doubled this year. The two committees have cited the example of the Goa government, which grants R100 per idol to the sculptor to encourage an environment-friendly festival.
Sculptors who produce eco-friendly idols have often complained about the unavailability of space and capital in their business. Making a single two feet high eco-friendly idol takes about five days, as they are completely handmade and no readymade moulds are used.
The sculptors feel that the government’s help will not just benefit their households and the mandals, but also encourage the sales as they can keep their prices low. This is turn will keep contribute towards the observance of an eco-friendly festival. At present, eco-friendly idols made of clay are sold for R3000-5000, depending on the amount of work put into each.
BSGSS president Naresh Dahibaonkar said, “This was done to help the sculptors get some benefit. Even the Goa government gives R100 to the sculptor for each idol sold. The state government can afford this much to promote an eco-friendly festival in the city. The sculptors face many limitations and if the government helps them we will be in a position to achieve the target they have set us of selling one lakh idols. We will also appeal to all the 12,000 sarvajanik mandals to buy eco-friendly idols for worship below the bigger idols.”
Sachin Ahir, Minister of State for Environment, said, “It is true that they have submitted such a proposal and we will have to approach our finance department for the same as this can’t solely be our decision, with money being involved. We are considering the proposal.”