In a bid to help artisans in Kumartuli for timely completion of idols, the state government has decided to provide extra kerosene to 600 artisans for 6 weeks from Durga Puja to Jagatdhatri Puja.
The artisans need a huge quantity of kerosene at this time every year for blue flame oil burner, which is used to dry up idols. Artisans need to give finishing touches on idols at least a week ahead of Durga Puja.
But, they face problems in drying up the idols as it rains heavily at this time almost every year. Thus, to dry up the idols before giving a coat of paint, the artisans need to use blue flame oil burners that consume a good quantity of fuel.
As a result the artisans have to suffer due to lack of availability of kerosene. They used to get the allotted quantity of kerosene like all other people in the city. But it was not sufficient to light blue flame oil burner for drying up of idols.
The artisans had brought it to the notice of the local MLA and the state women development and social welfare minister, Dr Sashi Panja, who had approached the state food and supplies minister Jyotipriya Mallick with a request to give them some extra quantity of kerosene for some weeks ahead and after Durga puja.
There are around 600 artisans in Kumartuli and each of them has been brought under the scheme to provide extra kerosene. Each of the artisans would be getting 5 litres kerosene every week for one and a half month.
It takes the total quantity of kerosene that to be given to artisans in Kumartuli to 3,000 litre every week.
The artisans will start getting 5 litre of kerosene per week ahead of the Puja and it will continue till Jagatdhatri Puja.
The period of giving the extra kerosene is decided in such a way so that artisans could complete making of idols of Goddesses Durga, Kali and Jagatdhatri. Festivals including Durga Puja, Kali Puja and Jagatdhatri Puja fall within a period of one and a half month. As a result, the artisans get very less time in between to complete the idols.
It may be mentioned that the state government has taken the initiative for betterment of the artisans “in a very tight” situation as the Centre had reduced the kerosene allotted for Bengal and it had not taken any step to increase the allotment even after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote a letter to the Centre in this regard.
Kartik Pal, secretary of Kumartuli Mrit Shilpi Samity, said: “Such initiative was never taken during the Left Front regime. The step taken by Mamata Banerjee government has come as a great relief for 600 artisans in Kumartuli. It has solved a major problem of ours. Scrutiny by the food and supplies department has already been conducted and it is expected that we would start getting the extra kerosene for 6 weeks soon.”
Dr Panja said that besides providing them extra kerosene many other steps were also taken to support the artisans in Kumartuli and their family members. “I expect that the steps taken by the state government will help the artisans,” she said.