GONE ARE the days when painters refused work during the time of elections, irrespective of the stature of politicians, because they were overloaded with work. Now most of them are sitting idle, struggling to earn two square meals for their families. Mechanisation has virtually snatched the bread and butter of these traditional painters.Such is the crisis that several of them have returned to their native places after finding it hard to survive in the city. This is at a time when the local bodies elections are only a month away.
Ashok Kumar of Anurag Arts who has been in the profession for the last 40 years, said it was only during the last assembly elections in the State that he did not have a second to waste as he was overloaded with work. The workload was so heavy that he was forced to refuse a 500-metre banner painting work of the Congress MLA from Sisamau Sanjeev Dariyabadi. However, now he is left with no option but to wait for customers.
Similarly, Haji Khalil of Patkapur who has witnessed several elections in the past, said that people used to line up for banners and hoardings not only during elections but also during festivals and other important events. Munna and Virendra of Benajhabar said that the work of banners and hoardings was on the verge of extinction. They said earlier even the probable candidates, without filing their nomination papers, booked painters for future work. However, the situation has changed now with the advent of the flax machine technology. Rajul Khanna, a painter using the latest technology, said that there was no limit to the number of banners being made through this technology. It had more options for colours and was not very expensive.