Chinese idols swamp Punjab during festive season

November 14th, 2007 - 8:11 am ICT by admin  
Amritsar, Oct 31 (ANI): Clay idols makers of Amritsar are facing stiff competition, as Chinese-made idols of Gods and Goddesses are flooding markets ahead of Diwali.

Chinese-made firecrackers, lights and toys have already been ruling the Indian markets for the past few years but now the Chinese entrepreneurs are exploiting a vast untapped religious consumer market, giving a fatal blow to the livelihood of hundreds of people.

Dozens of artisans in Bagichi Khiloniya Wali a small colony of clay idol-makers, located near the Gate Khazana in Amritsar are busy in moulding clay, baking raw idols and painting them in vibrant colours because the demand for clay idols of Lakshmi and Ganesha, generally shoot up as the festival of Diwali approaches.

However, the efforts of these idol makers has not paid off this Diwali as customers these days are attracted to metallic coloured Chinese idols with a fine finish that are available at affordable prices.

“The industry is suffering immensely as Chinese idols are flooding the markets here. People prefer to buy these idols and hence, we are losing business,” said Kuldeep, an idolmaker.

“Earlier, at least 25 families in this colony were involved in making idols but now only 8 to 10 families make clay idols because these days profits are disproportionate to the labour involved,” said Rajesh Kumar, an idol maker.

“This work involves immense concentration and hard work. When four members of a family labour hard the whole day, they cannot earn more than rupees 200,” said Jiya Lal, another idol maker.

Chinese made Ganesh and Laxmi idols range from rupees 40 to as high as rupees 2,000 in comparison to a pair of clay made deities ranging from rupees 10 to 500.

Despite being priced higher than the traditional clay idols, the Chinese idols are finding plentiful customers, as they are trendier and suit the modern day interior decoration needs. (ANI)

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