Assam: Idol makers race against time to complete orders ahead of Durga Puja; blame govt for late SOP

Idol makers are saying they are unable to take any fresh orders from Puja committees owing to time crunch


With Durga Puja around the corner, the idol makers of Dibrugarh are racing against time to complete orders and are citing the Assam government’s delay in issuance of the puja SOP as the reason for that.

“We usually start making our idols for the puja by April, but this year, we are started preparing only after Vishakarma puja in August because we are waiting for the government’s SOP," said Sudhir Chandra Paul, an idol maker from Dibrugarh, speaking to The Northeast Today (TNT).

Sudhir added that many puja committees are requesting him to take orders but, he is unable to take any fresh orders owing to the time crunch.

Deep Paul, another idol maker, said that for the last few weeks they have been burning the midnight lamp to get the work done on time. “Two weeks are left for Durga Puja and we have no time on our hands. We have been working day and night to complete the orders. We even hired two workers from Cooch Behar to help us. Every day, we are working till 2 am," he said.

Given the financial loss owing to COVID-19 in the past two years, the idol makers, however, have welcomed the government’s decision to allow puja celebrations this year. Last year, Durga puja lacked the usual grandeur, and puja committees were forced to symbolically organise the puja with minimum presence.

"Idol making has remained our family business for many years. Last year, we made fewer Durga idols because of COVID-19 restrictions. This time, we are happy that puja will be organised," said Deep Paul, speaking to The Northeast Today (TNT).

"As per the SOPs, we are making shorter idols of approximately 8 feet this time,” he added.

While last year the idol makers only received some 10 per cent of business compared with the average, this year, the number has reportedly shot up to 30–40 per cent. The business however has not increased substantially, as the budget of puja committees has been restricted, and there are other issues such as logistics and size of the idol, as well.

“Compared to last year, it’s quite good. At least, something is better than nothing,” Sudhir said, adding that he received 12 orders in total this year.

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