Protests, inflation burn hole through effigy makers’ business | punjab$patiala | Hindustan Times
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Protests, inflation burn hole through effigy makers’ business

punjab Updated: Oct 21, 2015 19:39 IST
Harinder Singh
Harinder Singh
Hindustan Times
Protests

Ravana effigies on sale near Safabadi gate in Patiala on Wednesday.(Bharat Bhushan/HT Photo)

The protests rocking the state over the past three-four weeks and galloping prices have meant that city residents — primarily resident associations and market welfare committees — are not that keen to burn effigies of evil this Dussehra that falls on Thursday (October 22).

Consequently, the effigy market has seen a slump with prices falling by as much as 40%. A 50-foot effigy of Ravana that fetched Rs 5,000 last season is being sold for Rs 3,000 this year.

“As it is, the economy has been on a down-spiral for more than a year and the recent protests by farmers and now by Sikhs has meant that there is tension in the air. We have also faced problems in procuring raw material,” said Santosh Kumar, an effigy maker at the Safabadi gate market.

Bulk orders had also fallen, he claimed adding that most of his customers over the past few days had been children from localities nearby.

Another effigy maker claimed that this year had been especially tough as raw material like sticks and paper were not available easily due to the strike and blockades. (Bharat Bhushan/HT Photo)

“This year, bookings have slumped to just 10% of previous years and rates have fallen 40% in some cases,” he claimed.

Another trader Tara Chand said, “This year, low-cost effigies are in demand. We are making single-head effigy Ravanas to keep cost low. There is virtually very little demand for 10-headed Ravanas.”

Another effigy maker claimed that this year had been especially tough as raw material like sticks and paper were not available easily due to the strike and blockades.

“The cost of production has gone up even as demand as slumped,” he added.

“Another major factor for the crash in the effigy market is that buyers from rural areas have not been able to access the market — either due to the farmer protests or the recent road blockades over desecration of the birs,” an expert said.

“This year, low-cost effigies are in demand. We are making single-head effigy Ravanas to keep cost low. There is little demand for 10-headed Ravanas,” said Tara Chand, a trader in effigies.

“The economy has been on a down-spiral for more than a year and recent protests by farmers and now by Sikhs has meant that there is tension in the air. We have also faced problems in procuring raw material,” Santosh Kumar, an effigy maker added.