GUWAHATI, Oct 25 - The rains ahead of Durga Puja have affected the State’s pottery industry, causing a downfall in the production of diyas (earthen lamps) and other products. This in turn effected a hike in the prices of pottery products, especially the retail price of diyas, ahead of the Diwali festival.
Explaining the current market situation, Manik Chandra Paul, a supplier of pottery products said, “Diwali is the peak time for the pottery market. But this year the rains before Durga Puja and Biswakarma Puja badly affected production of diyas and other products.”
For the pottery industry sunny weather is essential to dry the earthen products after they are given their respective shapes. According to Paul, this year the artisans involved in the pottery industry got very few sunny days to produce adequate numbers of diyas to meet the demand of the Diwali market.
“Last year, artisans of Simolutola in Goalpara district produced around 60 lakh diyas during Diwali time. But this time, production will come down to around 30 lakh. It will ultimately cause a heavy loss in the business. Even the hike in price will not be able to cover the loss,” Paul added.
He informed that at Simolutola around 130 families are involved in the pottery industry and the monthly income of each family is around Rs 15,000. Some of them still lag behind in accessing facilities under various government schemes.
“As pottery is not a lucrative business so far, in most of the cases, the new generation is not interested in carrying forward their family business. So in the coming days the pottery industry may face a crisis of workforce in our area,” Paul, for whom pottery is a traditional family business, rued.
Ananda Paul, a city-based veteran pottery businessman, said, “Both excessive rains and floods have affected the market this time due to which we are facing a crisis of products. This has ultimately resulted in price hike to some extent.”
According to Paul, Pathsala, Gauripur, Barpeta, Goalpara, Rongjuli and Kalangpar are the main sources of pottery products for the Guwahati market.
He added that due to financial losses, many artisans have stopped producing pottery items in the State. Further, he suggested that there is a need to introduce modern machinery in the pottery industry of Assam for its survival.
“In West Bengal and Bihar, I have seen that introduction of latest technology has turned pottery into a lucrative business option. In Assam, the State government should take steps to introduce these machinery. It will help in generating new employment avenues and reducing pollution,” he added.