Corona puts potters’ livelihood in danger

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Puri: The coronavirus scare and the subsequent precautionary measures by the government have taken a heavy toll on the livelihood of potters who used to supply clay pots (Kudua) to Srimandir.

The demand for clay pots at Srimandir, the abode of Lord Jagannath, has reached its nadir as there was no order for Mahaprasad from the devotees.

As per the data, around 400 potter families reside in the Holy City here while another few hundred families of the community reside in Puri Sadar, Brahmagiri, Satyabadi and Gop areas of the district.

Most of these families usually supply clay pots to Srimandir for the cooking of Mahaprasad. According to sources, the potters invariably supply at least 10 carts of clay pots to the 12th century shrine every day. The demand for clay pots usually go up during festivals as more number of devotees visit Srimandir and buy Mahaprasad from the Suar and Mahasuar servitors.

The state government has closed Srimandir for the devotees recently to discourage congregation of people as part of a precautionary measure to check the spread of coronavirus that had claimed around 21,000 lives across the globe. Besides, the restrictions imposed on vehicular traffic have also made the shrine inaccessible to the common people.

As a result, there was no order for Mahaprasad from the people. “We usually earn a livelihood by supplying clay pots to Srimandir. Suar and Mahasuar servitors of Srimandir have stopped buying Kudua from us. Now, I have a stock of pots worth Rs 20,000 with me. I am facing problems to meet my family’s daily expenses,” said Purnachandra Bisoyi, a potter from Kumbharpada area of the Holy City.

Echoing the same, Chakradhar Bisoyi, another potter of the locality, claimed that he has also huge stock of unsold clay pots.

Srimandir Kumbhakar Niyog secretary Mahendra Bisoyi said most of the potters in the city and on its outskirts are facing problems to meet their daily needs. “The state government and the district administration should consider the plight of potters of Puri and take appropriate steps,” Bisoyi added.

Bisoyi further said that cyclonic storm Fani that made a landfall on Odisha coast May 3, last year had damaged the almost all potteries and huge stock of pots in Puri and other blocks of the city. “The potters are yet to come out of the situation caused by the cyclone. Now, the coronavirus scare has added to our woes,” Bisoyi added.

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