Even though Maharashtra has relaxed Covid-19 restrictions for Ganesh Utsav this year, citizens will have to bear the brunt of inflation. According to shopkeepers in Thane, prices of decorative and puja materials have risen 10 to 25 per cent, making celebrations costlier.
Sachin Kale, a vendor, said the markets are ready for the festival, which is just a few days away. People are thronging the markets despite the high prices, he said.
“Decorative materials are expensive by 10 to 20 per cent and puja materials by 20 to 25 per cent. Due to increase in fuel prices, transport costs have become expensive,” he said.
Kailash Desle, another vendor, said artificial flower garlands that were sold for Rs50 to Rs150 last year are being sold at Rs100 to Rs200 this time around. Prices of environmentally friendly makhars, on which the idols are kept, are also up 10 to 20 per cent.
Pradeep Kadam, who sells puja materials, said their prices have increased 20 to 25 per cent. A set of puja materials sold at Rs400 last year is going for Rs600 this year. The price of incense sticks has gone up too – from Rs400-Rs800 per kilo to Rs500 to Rs1,000 per kilo, he said.
“Every year different types of makhar are available for sale. Earlier makhars made from cardboard, paper and cloth were available. This year makhars made from bamboo, wooden grass and laser lights have entered the market,” Desle said.
Poornima Jadhav, a resident of Manpada, said her family has been celebrating Ganesh Utsav for the past 15 years. “Due to Covid-19 Ganesh Utsav was a low-key affair for a couple of years,” she said. “This year the state government has given relaxations and we are fully prepared to welcome Bappa on August 31. Even though the prices of all decorative and puja materials are high, people are buying them because the celebration is taking place after two years.”