Kolkata – Kolkata’s sculpture artists have been left staggered right before their sales of their biggest earning season – Durga Puja. Kumartuli is where the Idols are manufactured from the artists, and these artists have been in business for many years now.
One of the artists had to say that this year the customers are not very sure of their revenues they would be getting from the advertisements because of the implementation of the GST. Hence these customers who earlier used to order let’s say 11- feet tall idols are now asking for a 9-feet idol.
The cost of production of the Idols has gone up, and hence the customers had to be turned away as they were unwilling to shed more money to buy the Idols. The customers are still comparing the prices of the Idols to the VAT (Value added tax), that was in place previously. Most of these customers have been the puja committees who have been purchasing the Idols for years.
Also, not only the sales have been impacted but the after the implementation of the GST, it has been difficult for the artists to purchase the material for the Goddess Durga’s Ornamentation. Under the GST, the clothes are taxed at 5%, color at 28%, wigs at 28% and the weapons at 18%. The total production cost has gone up by leaps and bounds for the artists.
One artist had to say that earlier if it took him ₹ 2,000 to purchase the ornaments for the saaj, now even if he is shelling out ₹ 5000, he is not able to procure all the materials. He said that the future generation would then never want to enter this industry.
The state has also seen a rise in the prices of straw and clay materials though the artists are hoping to earn a profit by the end of the festive puja season.