Sky-rocketing prices and other factors due to stir make it tough this year
G. Gopi Reddy, a vegetable vendor, goes around the pandal busily keeping a check on the limited stock of vegetables for the ‘prasad’ to be distributed during the 14-day Dasara festivities. He is one of the main vegetable suppliers for the Devi Navratri Mahotsav being organised at Siripuram. “Things have never been so bad in the city,” says a worried Reddy. His budget for vegetable supplies has exceeded Rs. 40,000 this year due to the sky-rocketing prices of vegetables that are arriving in limited supplies from neighbouring districts.
Seemandhra agitation, which has paralysed the city, coupled with rising prices of vegetables and essential commodities has hit the Dasara festivities in the city.
One of the oldest Durga puja festival organised by Bengali Association at Town Hall is bracing up for a tough year with sponsorships drying up owing to the agitation. “This time, the sponsorships are down 50 per cent. In fact, the normal sponsorships have dropped from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 2,000 per head. We have to put in personal funds to ensure the festivities don’t get affected,” says Bengali Association president U. Panchali Banerjee. The association has been celebrating Durga Puja every year at Town Hall in One Town Area since 1953.
At Siripuram’s Devi Navratri Mahotsav, the donation collected so far is Rs. 3 lakh. Last year, the total donations were more than Rs. 8 lakh. “We are not expecting it to be anywhere close to last year’s figure,” says M.A. Naidu, a member of the organising committee. Last year, the association organised a community lunch for 6,000 people. This year, too, it plans to organise it on the same scale with the available funds and limited supply of vegetables.
Other associations celebrating Durga puja like the ‘Sarbojanin Durga Puja’ organised by Waltair Kalibari are also facing the heat from the ongoing agitation.
The association’s budget allocated for ‘bhog’ and ‘prasad’ has touched Rs. 2.5 lakh this year due to high prices of vegetables and acute shortage of supplies. Last year, they managed it within Rs 1.75 lakh.