New Delhi, Oct 7 : Manik Pal is left a worried man this Durga Puja.
The Covid-19 pandemic has hurt his businesses badly, leaving this idol maker with just 10 per cent of last year's work. Working in an abandoned compound near the Kali temple in CR Park, the lack of activity with Durga Puja just a couple of weeks away was palpable.
"I have been coming to Delhi to make Durga idols for 20 years now. This year there are very few orders. I have only got 4-5 orders this time. Last year, there were around 40-45 orders," said Pal, who hails from Krishnanagar in West Bengal's Nadia district.
He added that in comparison to 15-20 helpers last year, only 5 are working with his this time around.
The pandemic has ruined the livelihoods of many like him, Pal argued even as he continued to give final shape to the arm of an idol. "We are all afraid of coronavirus. But we had nothing to eat. Doing this amid the pandemic is a compulsion," he said.
Pal claimed that there are less orders this year because of the sharp drop in the number of Durga Pujas in the Delhi-NCR.
There are hardly any pujas in CR Park this year, while the smaller pujas are taking place in Pragati Vihar, Gurugram, Mahavir Enclave etc.
He added that the idols are also short in height this time, mostly of 4-5 feet, which is very different from the previous years which were all about opulence and grandeur.
As Pal went back to fine tune the fingers of the idol he was making, the loud silence around him in comparison to all the buzz of last year was unmistakable.
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