Traders pay between Rs.50 and Rs.125 to make 100 kites; four-member group can make only 200 to 250 big kites a day

Abdul Raheem, a 45-year-old man from Yakutpura, has been making kites all his life. A third generation family member, he learned the craft from his father some 30 years ago, but no longer finds the trade lucrative.

“After toiling hard for a full day, we are not able to earn even Rs. 200,” he says, wistfully. His wife supports him in the work and together they make about 150 kites a day.

It’s not only Raheem, but most families that make kites for a living in the old city share similar woes. A few have already switched over to other options.

“Even after putting in a lot of effort we are were left with meagre earnings. Due to this, many craftsmen took up alternative jobs,” Qaiser, a kite maker at Kalapather, explains.

Depending on the size, traders pay between Rs.50 and Rs.125 to make 100 kites and a four-member group is able to make only 200 to 250 big kites a day.

“It is a strenuous job and requires a lot of patience but after struggling for long hours we are deprived of a decent earning,” Shivlal, a kite maker at Dhoolpet laments.

Dhoolpet and Mangalghat are the only places where there is high concentration of kite makers. About 130 traders here outsource the work to families staying around.

Cascading effect

However, low remunerations have had a cascading effect. More than 50 per cent of the families, which practiced the trade, have dropped out of it in the last five years, says C. Mohanlal, president, Lodha Samaj and a wholesale kite trader.

Cost of production too has gone up drastically over the years while the returns are not that encouraging. This apart, the market too is flooded with fancy kites made of different materials and there are not many takers for conventional kites, he explains.

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