Women making earthen lamps in Kondaiyampettai complain of a drop in production and sales as rains have hampered production.
Kondaiyampettai is a centre for making earthen lamps, pots which are sent to cities like Chennai and Bengaluru but sales have significantly dropped and rains have made matters worse. “I have been making lamps since I was young. Now, my daughter-in-law makes them. However, sales have dwindled as people prefer metal ones as they believe they last longer. The craftsmanship involved is ignored,” says R. Saroja.When business was flourishing, men made pots and lamps while women assisted.
Nowadays, however, the tables have turned, Ms. Saroja says. “We had to learn the technique fast as men went out to work as construction labourers. We are able to make about 100-200 lamps in a day and sell 1,000 lamps for Rs.500 to vendors who sell them at Gandhi Market,” she said.“Deepavali, Karthigai Deepam and Pongal are the peak season for us, but look, we are all sitting with nothing to do now,” says C. Maheshwari, another lamp maker. “The rains have wreaked havoc on the delicate lamps that were kept to dry outside. Even in August, when we were making lamps for Deepavali, the rains came in the way,” she said, adding that the lamps which they would be making now would be ready for Karthigai Deepam.Each lamp maker buys clay from sellers by the truckload.
One mini-truck costs Rs.2,000. “Earlier, we used to buy a truckload every two days. Now, we keep it for an entire season,” said Ms. Maheshwari. The government pays potters affected by the rain a certain amount per year. But many lamp makers, however, are unable to receive the compensatory amount, says Ms. Saroja. “Some potters in our locality applied for the compensation over 10 years ago and continue to receive them. We only got to know of it a few years ago. However, our requests have not been accepted yet,” she said.
(source : The Hindu)