Like the previous year, idol makers in Brahmanbaria are set for another year of poor business surrounding Durga Puja, the biggest religious festival of the Hindus, as a result of the impacts of the ongoing pandemic.
Only smaller-size idols are being made in most of the mandaps in various upazilas of the district.
Idol artisans of the district said every year before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country, idols worth Tk3-4 crore used to be made during Durga Puja in the district, which shrank to Tk1 crore this year.
There are several hundreds of artisans in Brahmanbaria district but only 40-50 make idols for Durga and other pujas. They become busy making idols for at least two months before Durga Puja. After the end of a season, they used to earn around Tk1.5-2 crore.
Last year, the artisans made idols worth Tk40,000 which is between Tk30,000 and Tk50,000 this year.
Dulal Pal, a potter from the Noapara area of the district, said he, along with two of his brothers, make idols. They have inherited the art from their ancestors.
They used to make idols for 30-35 puja mandaps every year before the epidemic and used to earn Tk10-12 lakh during the puja season. Their income has halved due to Covid-19.
Another potter, Rabindra Pal, said he has been making idols for 30 years. Before Covid-19, he used to make idols worth Tk50,000 to Tk1.5 lakh for each mandap. During the puja season, he could earn Tk1-1.5 lakh.
Sujan Dutt, a member of the National Council of Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad and leader of Brahmanbaria District Puja Udjapan Parishad, said, this time Durga Puja will be held in about 600 mandaps in the district, and like the previous year, there will be no glamour in the puja mandap.