Raipur’s potter families hope for delayed rainsJune 5th, 2010 - 2:32 pm ICT by IANS
By Sujeet Kumar
Raipur, June 5 (IANS) Not that they want others to sweat and suffer, but around 50 potter families selling earthen pots on the outskirts of the Chhattisgarh capital want the monsoon to arrive just a little late.
That, they say, will be enough to feed the hungry mouths in their families for a while as the sale of earthen pots goes up in summer. With the mercury constantly hovering around a scorching 46 degrees Celsius, their business has been particularly good this time.
“We are very poor and selling earthen pots is our only source of income,” said Bittan Bai, 32, busy selling her ware, stored in dozens, under an open sky at Ring Road Number One.
“This year the sales have been the best in the past 10 years. People are paying nearly Rs.50 for each pot and we are earning a net profit of Rs.32 on each piece. The sales are at their peak now and I don’t want the monsoon to spoil my business,” she said.
The monsoon - expected to hit the state in the second week of June after a prolonged summer - will pour water over her prospects, she fears.
Summer is a very crucial period for people like her. With no other source of income, the money earned from the sale of pots is what sustains them for the rest of the year.
She said she had been selling some 60 pieces a day on an average since the first week of May. The buyers are mostly the rich who, despite having refrigerators at home, prefer to take earthen pots for a taste of naturally cooled water.
Birju Sahu, 26, who runs a family business in earthen pots and has five outlets on the outskirts of Raipur, also wants the monsoon to arrive later. “Even a week’s delay in the monsoon will help us make good earnings,” Sahu said.
“After the first monsoon showers, no one will prefer to buy earthen pots and we will have to wind up our business till May next year,” Sahu said.
With a daily profit of Rs.4,000-4,500, a visibly upbeat Sahu added, “This is the summer season we have been looking for, for years. The sale of pots has been one of the best in a decade.”
He said some 50 potter families that run shops along the Ring Road and highway points on the outskirts of Raipur rely only on selling earthen pots for their survival.
“Our children will die of starvation if we stay away from our traditional business even for one summer season. Last year the monsoon hit the state very late in June but it did benefit our business,” claimed Raja Ram, 62.
He said the earnings for his 17-member family this summer was a little over Rs.125,000. “The sales and profits this year have brought us cheer because since late March the temperature has been around and above 45 degrees Celsius.”
As the saying goes, one man’s meat is another man’s poison.
(Sujeet Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)
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