‘Our art­works break even be­fore we reach Su­ra­jkund’

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Ruchika Garg ruchika.garg@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Visi­tors might be in awe of the beau­ti­ful art­works up for sale at Su­ra­jkund In­ter­na­tional Crafts Mela 2017 (on till Feb 15), but the ar­ti­sans have a far-from-happy story to share. Trav­el­ling hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres to take part in this an­nual fest, craftsper­sons say that on un­wrap­ping their art pieces, they find many, well... in pieces! Kalu Pal, 55, who’s sell­ing his in­tri­cate stoneware and God idols, shares: “I trav­elled more than 500km with 50kg of hand­i­crafts. I took a bus from my vil­lage (Bag­dah vil­lage) in Jhark­hand to the Dumka re­gion and from Ranchi took a train to Delhi. On the way, some art­works got chipped, and some cracked. I might have to go back home with­out profit.”

Sheroz Ahmed, a 32-year-old from Bu­land­sha­har, UP, rues, “This is the sec­ond time I’ve set up a stall here for ce­ramic works, many of which broke dur­ing travel. I also had to book a per­sonal car­riage for my prod­ucts. The gov­ern­ment doesn’t pay for the travel, car­riage, or the dam­age.”

Some end up pay­ing ex­tra out of their pock­ets to cover up for the loss. Mad­hubani artist Jeetu Bhatt, 45, says, “I had to re­work on my dam­aged wooden pieces. This in­creased the cost of mak­ing. The colour and raw ma­te­rial in Delhi is also more ex­pen­sive. Yet, no one val­ues hard work. Buy­ers only want to hag­gle the price.”

I trav­elled more than 500km with 50kg of hand­i­crafts to reach Farid­abad. Some art­works got chipped, some broke KALU PAL, CRAFTSMAN FROM JHARK­HAND

PHOTOS: AMAL KS / HT

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