The ever-increasing demand for PVC plastic kites is sounding a death knell for kite making

It is a tough time for kite makers from the south of the city, thanks to sky-rocketing prices of paper and bamboo sticks, the vital raw materials of a kite.

A ream of paper now costs Rs. 1,000, while a bundle of bamboo sticks comes at Rs. 700. According to craftsmen, the cost of raw materials has gone up by 15 per cent this season compared to last year. Bamboo sticks are brought from the northeast, particularly Assam.

With banks or the district administration extending no financial aid, most craftsmen depend on private lenders.

“Either they [craftsmen] approach traders for hand-loans or simply opt for private financers. In both cases, they end up being exploited,” says C. Mohanlal, president, Lodha Samaj, Dhoolpet.

Traders buy finished goods at half the market price, citing damage to the products while handling them. Some traders employ kite makers and pay them between Rs. 100 and Rs. 150 for making 100 kites. A four-member group can make 200 to 250 big kites a day. “It is a strenuous job, but with no alternatives, we are forced to do it,” says Savitri Bai, a housewife from Upper Dhoolpet.

In the last few years, several kite makers have moved out of the trade in search of other alternatives.

“We put in about eight to 10 hours of hard labour but are not able to earn sufficient money. Instead, many prefer to take up odd jobs,” says Shaik Nayeem from Mangalhat.

The ever-increasing demand for PVC plastic kites is sounding a death knell for the craft.

“Unlike the past, we are making only big ‘doridaar’ kites. The demand for smaller kites has come down, as people prefer plastic kites,” says Sunil from Dhoolpet. Traders also try to gain advantage by paying peanuts to craftsmen, they charge.

Keywords: kitesDhoolpetpapercuriosity

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