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Mumbai’s oldest Ganesh mandal at the Keshavji Naik Chawl in Girgaum, hosts a two-and-a-half-feet clay idol every year that is being sculpted by the More family since 1893. Rajendra and Jayesh More are the fourth generation of the KG More Karyshala. While they used to make as many as 1,000 clay idols earlier for Ganeshotsav, there are barely about 200 orders now because PoP idols made it easier, says Jayesh More.
Jayesh More welcomes the eco-friendly move but says clay idols are extremely difficult to create and need years of experience and expertise to master and there are not enough artists in the market for it.
The town of Pen in Raigad district is the hub for several idol-makers for generations. Viren Patil, a third generation murtikaar from Pen, is upset with the directive because he has already made many PoP idols, apart from clay idols for the festival. However, he doesn't oppose the ban.
Patil says if they had been notified about this development last year, they would not have produced so many PoP murtis. If this directive was implemented in 2024, they would have gladly followed it because they expect time to execute this change.
Ketan Vinde, who has been making Ganesha idols for the last 30 years in Mahim, says the clay idols are eco-friendly but are time-consuming because one idol takes at least four to five days. Even if the BMC provides the clay, it will be difficult to produce the idols in a short period of time. The fact that they are expensive, also means that there are not many takers for the idols, so a well-planned out directive would have helped.