Pandemic crisis pushes makers of earthenware into penury

The earthenware makers of Kolathuruthu near Muvattupuzha are in dire straits. The COVID-19 crisis has driven around 50 families of traditional earthenware makers into penury as there is little or no business.

There are those who sell products on the wayside. But restrictions on movement of people and fear of the pandemic have combined to deny them any remuneration, said Mohanan Kunduveli, who is a regular feature at festivals, selling earthenware and other products.

He said the community of earthenware makers had decided not to make Onathappan this season considering the market conditions. Onathappan represents the festival of Onam, and the season marks a high-point in sales. Onathappan, the pyramid-like clay structure, measuring around a foot, is a major attraction in the run-up to Onam festivities.

The cost of raw materials is yet another factor that dissuades young members of the community from the profession, said a social worker from the community of earthenware makers. According to him, the cost of clay, now brought mostly from Karnataka, has spiralled, and as a result, it will be practically impossible to sell products at remunerative prices.

The traditional community of earthenware makers used to register sales ranging between ₹10,000 and ₹30,000 during the Onam season. However, the upcoming Onam season holds little hope, Mr. Mohanan said.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 12:05:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/pandemic-crisis-pushes-makers-of-earthenware-into-penury/article32263238.ece

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