Navi Mumbai: The Covid-19 crisis has a huge impact on the business of Ganpati idols and now the people associated with it are facing the brunt.
With hardly four days left the Ganpati festival to begin, most of the shops set up specially to sell Ganpati idols are having around 50 per cent unsold inventories.
Rajendra Gharat, a native of Hamrapur village in Pen taluka is now offering around 40 to 50 per cent discount on unsold idols as he does not want to go back with these idols. “I have no option but to sell all these idols as these cannot be stored,” said Gharat. He added that he was aware of the pandemic and so brought in half of the number of units of the previous year. But selling of those has become a challenge. For the last three years, he is setting up a temporary shop in Ulwe in Navi Mumbai. Earlier, he used to sell idols in Vashi.
Like Gharat, other idol makers who have come from Pen taluka in Raigad district are facing similar situation. “We start the process in January-February as the demand is rising with each year passing. However, this year, we stopped making idols soon after the lockdown was extended in April,” said Pandurang Patil, another idol seller at Belapur. He added that it has become a challenge to sell these small units.
Gharat is putting his best efforts from offering discounts to safety measures to celebrate the festivals. He admits that the business cannot be the same during the pandemic and but he is hopeful that he would be able to sell all units before leaving to his native village. “I am expecting that in the last two days I will get customers,” said Gharat.
As the administration is stressing immersion of idols within the society premises, idol makers have good number of soil-made idols. “We are selling soil-made idols at the price POP idols to attract customers,” said Gharat.
A large volume of business and revenue always attracted people. However, the pandemic has also impacted the annual celebration and its business. Not only Ganpati Mandals but many households also decided to skip the celebration his year. Supriya Rai, a resident Ulwe in Navi Mumbai said that the strict guidelines and the present Corona crisis are the main reason to put on hold the celebration. “If we hold the festival, people will gather and chances of spreading the infection will increase,” said Rai.