Despite the shadow of the Govt at Durga Puja festivals this year, it is hoped that artisans and workers at CR Park will make more profit than the previous year. They say there is a little more work than last year, but much less than before.
Govind Nath, 49, who sits in his workshop at the Kali Mandir complex, says he would make 50-70 sets of idols anywhere until two years ago. This year, he has made 13.
The height of the statues has also decreased — he carved statues 20-30 feet high, while the tallest statue he carved this year was 8 feet high. “There have been very few jobs over the last two years. The price of raw materials brought in from Bengal has gone up,” says the third-generation sculptor, and his 12-member workforce has shrunk.
Worship groups have made arrangements keeping in mind the guidelines of DTMA. Prodip Ganguly, secretary of the CR Park Kali Mandir Society, said, “Devotees will only be allowed inside for worship. Aarti and Pushpanjali will take place online … There is no restriction on the height of the statues but since immersion processions are not allowed, the statue should be smaller than before.
Nath says most orders are for statues less than 5 feet. A statue of about 3 feet costs Rs. Cost 25,000. However, his profit margin is as low as Rs 2,000.
On Sunday, he prepared the departure statues with the help of two workers. Some of his orders come from CR Park and nearby areas like Kalkaji and Alaknanda, while others go to places in Gurgaon. Once the statues are ready, wrap them in paper so that they do not break.
Throughout his workshop a makeshift shed would be filled with colorful fabrics and used for pavilions. Sitting inside his sewing machine is Kaurang Biswas, 50, who sews the edges of the white fabric he uses as a background.
He says he learned ‘charcoal’ 25 years ago and ran a small shop in his hometown in Nadia district in West Bengal. Realizing that there was not much profit there, he went to Delhi and started working on contracts with pandal decoration companies for various festivals. But because festivals are banned and there are fewer pandals this year, the number of working days is lower and the daily wage is lower than before. He earns Rs 550 a day. Earlier, with extra time during peak period, he would earn around Rs 750 per day.
For Sanjay Roy (53), an assistant involved in various activities such as carrying and folding cloth, this is his first year working at CR Park. He lost his peon job at a private company due to an epidemic. He was earning a salary of Rs 14,000 per month. Now, he works for a daily wage of 400 rupees a day.
In the grounds near the Chandralok Cinema, not far away, sculptors prepare statues and then load them into trucks. Here, too, the number of statues is smaller and smaller than before. Baba, 35, who came from Nadia district a month ago, said, “I have been coming to Delhi for four years. But, I didn’t come last year. “They get a monthly salary depending on the number and size of the idols they make and sell,” he adds.