Prospects dim for earthen lamp makers this season

Earthen lamp makers of Bethaniapuram in Madurai say COVID-19 pandemic has left people cash-strapped.   | Photo Credit: G. Moorthy

Earthen lamp (akal vilakku) makers of Bethaniapuram have reported a 50% drop in sales ahead of Karthigai Deepam festival.

The artisans mainly attribute this to restriction on lighting lamps in temples. V. Jothi, who has been making earthen lamps for the past 20 years, says there was hardly any sales of earthen lamps during the initial months of the lockdown period as entry of devotees inside temples was banned. “Though devotees are allowed inside temples now, the sales continues to be dull since they are not allowed to light lamps,” she says.

Only a limited number of shopkeepers bought earthen lamps from the artisans for Karthigai Deepam festival, says A. Mookammaal, another artisan. “Most shopkeepers have a huge stock of earthen lamps and we hope to sell them ahead of Karthigai Deepam festival,” she says.

G. Shanthi, who sells earthen lamps near Arapalayam bus stand, says sales has plummeted as the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced the buying capacity of people.

The production of earthen lamps is also low this year owing to difficulty in obtaining permission to take mud from tanks during the lockdown period, says R. Veeran, an artisan. The rains in the past one month has also hampered production of earthen lamps, he says.

“With meagre profits from making earthen lamps, many artisans are planning to shift to some other occupation. We need financial assistance to offset the loss,” Mr. Veeran says.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2021 5:35:54 PM |

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