Organisers fight devil of inflation this Navratri | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Organisers fight devil of inflation this Navratri

mumbai Updated: Sep 28, 2011 02:08 IST
Reetika Subramanian

Referring to inflation as the "Raavan" at this year's Navratri festival that begins on Wednesday, Malad-based Ramleela organiser, Devkinandan Jindal has been knocking the doors of sponsors and organisations to help raise donations.

Jindal, trustee, Sri Ramleela Prachar Samiti, Malad said the cost of renting grounds has doubled since last year, boarding and lodging of artistes and orchestra members has increased and the prices of foodgrains used for prasad have also shot up. This has forced the city's Navratri and Durga Puja organisers to rework their budgets to accommodate the 20% rise in expenditure.

"Sponsors have been shying away at the last moment because of a dip in the markets. We cannot compromise on the festivities since it is an annual affair," said Jindal.

"We are planning to break-even by increasing ticket prices and generating more ad revenue," added Jindal, whose budget is Rs25 lakh.

At Dandiya Utsav Mandal, organisers will beat the price rise by increasing the price of tickets. At Sankalp Navratri Utsav Mandal, the cost of a season pass has increased from Rs2,500 to Rs3,000 and a daily pass from Rs300 to Rs600. "The overall budget of our festival has increased by almost 25% compared to last year," said Devendra Joshi, organiser of Sankalp Utsav.

At Shivaji Park's Bengal Club, organisers claim there has been a perceptible dip in collections from donors. Moreover, the estimated budget took a hit owing to additional expenses on security.

"We cannot compromise on security arrangements and general expenses such as food, lighting and pujas," said Amit Chowdhary, vice-president of the Bengal Club, which welcomes around five lakh people every year. "Since there are no entry passes for the festival, we are trying to approach corporates to help with the funding, three days ahead of the festivities," he added.

The Durga Puja celebrations will begin on October 1.At the city's potters' colony, Kumbharwada in Dharavi, potters have raised the prices of garbas (pots). "Rain played spoilt sport this year, causing a shortage of dried pots," said Panibai Solanki, 60, who exports her pots to the UK, US and Dubai.

"Since production decreased, increasing the price was our only option. A simple garba that was priced at Rs 50 a few years ago, now costs Rs 150," she added.