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Updated: September 5, 2013 01:04 IST

Pricey idols may dent festival charm this season

M. Srinivas
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The prices of idols have gone up by 25 per cent compared to last year as the cost of the material used for making them has shot up thanks to the steep hike in transportation charges

Inflation has hit Ganesh festivities this year so hard that the prices of idols have considerably gone up, forcing devotees and pandal organisers to spend judiciously for the 10-day carnival. The festival will commence on September 9 and will conclude on September 18 with the immersion of idols in Tank Bund.

Compared to last year, the prices of idols have gone up by 25 per cent as the cost of materials used for making them has shot up thanks to the steep hike in transportation charges. A 12-feet-tall idol now costs about Rs. 35,000 as against Rs. 30,000 last year.

Idols makers at Dhoolpet and Mangalhat are charging Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 25,000 for idols of a height of less than 10 feet, said M. Jangith Rao Yadav, a pandal organiser from Secunderabad. The cost of smaller idols worshipped at home has also gone up.

Small idols

Shops are selling small idols for Rs. 500 to Rs. 3,000. Artisans use steel and coconut coir to reinforce Plaster of Paris (PoP) and chalk powder for making idols, besides applying various colours.

“We are now purchasing a lorry load of PoP from Rajasthan at a cost of Rs. 60,000 as against Rs. 50,000 last year. The price of colours has shot up by 20 per cent,” said Dhruv Singh Kalakar, a veteran idol maker from Dhoolpet.

This apart, the charges for skilled labour have gone up, and they are in addition to food and accommodation provided to them. “All these factors forced us to increase idol prices,” Kalakar maintained.

He claimed that almost all idols made by him of heights ranging from 5 feet to 15 feet had been sold. In fact, organizers from Bangalore and Odisha were placing orders for more idols, he added.

Another artisan from Mangalhat, Manoj Kalakar, said regular customers had already paid advances even after knowing that the prices had escalated this time.

Artisans make different types of idols as buyers demand uniqueness and creativity every year.

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