The umbrella body for issuing permissions to Ganesh pandals in the city, Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samnvay Samiti (BSGSS), said there has been a 100 % rise in the demand for clay or shadu idols this year. BSGSS officials told HT that owing to growing awareness among the masses about celebrating an eco-friendly festival, the demand for shadu idols has increased.
“We have observed a 40% decline in manufacturing of PoP idols this year. This has happened after majority of PoP supply from Konkan areas was banned earlier this year by the state government,” said Naresh Dahibhavkar, president, BSGSS. “Also, due to an increase in awareness to safeguard Mumbai from beach pollution, more households are going for eco-friendly idols only.”
Dahibhavkar added that the idea was first floated by the state environment minister Ramdas Kadam during the Legislative Assembly meeting in December last year that PoP idols should be completely banned in the state.
“There has been a massive demand for clay idols in Mumbai this year. However, idol makers have been able to provide approximately 30,000 clay idols out of a total of 1,86,000 household idols in the city,” said Vijay Khatu, idol maker from Lalbaug who has made over 250 idols in the past 40 years.
While sculptors across Mumbai confirmed the development, they said the requirement cannot be met by them because making clay idols is a time consuming process. An idol maker from Mumbai claimed that BSGSS’ attempt to phase out PoP idols would affect the lives of idol makers across the state.
“Even with the current supply of PoP, we are unable to meet the demand for both Sarvajanik and household idols. If PoP is banned, we would be forced to go on strike and the business of idol making will have to be shut down,” said Ramesh Rawle, one of the leading idol artists from Lalbaug, adding that it takes at least three years to make enough idols to fulfil demand of eco-friendly idols for one year.