CANACONA: With the Ganeshotsav festival a few weeks away, various artisans from across Canacona taluka, in a complaint to the Governor, has urged him to stop the making and selling of Ganesha idols in the state of Goa as it is polluting the environment and disrespecting, insulting the culture and traditions of the state.
Even though the manufacturing and sale of Ganesha idols from Plaster of Paris (POP) are banned in Goa, some elements to make a quick buck are either manufacturing POP idols or importing from neighbouring states to be sold in Goa, the complaint states.
Irked with the non-adherence to the laws in place by these unscrupulous elements, various artisans from all over Canacona taluka has also submitted a copy of the complaint to the Chief Secretary and the Director
of Department of Handicrafts and asked their intervention to end this activity and stop the pollution caused, together with the losses the traditional artisans are incurring due to the drop in the sale of the clay idols.
Manoj Prabhugaonkar, another artisan from Mashem, informed that the copy of the complaint submitted to various authorities is signed by
Manohar Pagi, Chandrakant Naik, Ranganath Dhuri, Audhut Dhuri, Prasad Bandekar, Guruprasad Pagi, Lakan Pagi, Rohidas Chari, Sandeep Chari, Neeraj Chari, Anand Chari and Ambar Pagi all from Canacona.
Prabhugaonkar also informed that the department of Handicrafts used to hold a meeting with the representatives of the artisans. Still, this has stopped since the last so many years, and there is a wide communication gap between the artisans and the Handicrafts Department.
Manohar Pagi from Tamne Loliem, one of the signatories to the complaint speaking to Goemkarponn, said that he made clay idols since he was ten years old.
“First I helped my father in making idols, and now it is more than thirty years I do everything myself, my children assist me now, and I wish to pass on the skill to them”, he informed.
Getting clay has become difficult as most of the fields from where we used to bring clay from have been left fallow by farmers also there is a lot of water as the fields don’t get drained off due to construction of road and rail lines from the middle of these fields he added.
When asked, Manoj Prabhugaonkar informed that he had to go to Pernem in North Goa to get the clay.
He added that the last year’s subsidy is not credited to their account till now, and it’s become too difficult to ply the trade now.
There is a subsidy of rupees one hundred for each of the clay idols made to a maximum of 250 idols, and 25 thousand in subsidy for the artisans is a huge amount, he added.
“The cheap POP idols are fast eating into our business, and unless the government acts tough on those making POP idols or bringing from neighbouring states to sell in Goa, the traditional artisans who thrived for centuries will become extinct soon Prabhugaonkar warned.