Hopes Of Good Diwali Dashed For Potters In Dharavi Due To Pandemic
Kumbharwada in Dharavi is known for potters for about a century.
Potters, who normally have good business during the festive season, are adversely affected due to coronavirus lockdown this year. Many say that the footfall is far less than what they witnessed during the festive season last year.
Pottery, is one of the small scale business giving livelihoods to rural and poor urban families across India. Kumbharwada in Dharavi is known for potters for about a century. About 3,000- 4,000 potter families have worked in Kumbharwada for more than 100 years. This year their sale has been affected by the lockdown severely and hence don't have any hopes for a good Diwali this year.
Yousuf Galwani who is a third generation potter in his family, living in Dharavi's Kumbarwada said that his business had suffered a loss of 75-80% but despite that he ramped up his production for Diwali.
"There is hope that people will come and buy but I am also scared that clients are still worried about Covid. People also don't have jobs and no money, how will they even purchase?" he asks.
Galwani who is into a bigger business said he doesn't have money to ramp up production.
Ismail has been making earthen pots for the last 40 years. He makes 1,500 pots everyday and sells each pot for Re 1. Normally, he gets orders for 50,000 pots during Diwali but this time, only he got only 10,000 orders so far.
"This year I won't have much business. Material cost has gone up too and there is no people to buy pots as they have gone to villages etc," he said.
Ranchod Das, a wholesaler, agreed with Ismail and said he too didn't receive much orders around this festive time.
Sarita,a contract labourer, and gets contract to paint the lamps says survival is difficult this year. Normally, she gets Rs 10 per 100 pots but this year the number of pots she is getting for painting is almost half.
So, for potters living here who lost business during all festivals, hopes of a good Diwali has been also dashed.
The first COVID-19 patient in Dharavi was detected on April 1, nearly three weeks after Mumbai recorded its maiden positive case on March 11.
The World Bank, in its biennial Poverty and Shared Prosperity report, said that in the space of three months, by July 2020, reported cases in the area had been cut to 20 per cent of their peak in May.
While the tally of coronavirus cases in Maharashtra has crossed 16-lakh mark, Mumbai's count of cases stands at 2,45,871.