Pandemic brings a tough life for potters

Business City Covid-19

Potters in Lucknow face a hard time as the customers seeking sanitization do not consider their products to be safe.

Lucknow- Street potters in Lucknow suffered a massive downfall in their pottery business during this season of Diwali. Potters say that the bigger shops attracted their customers which hit them hard.  People preferred bigger shops because they felt that those shops would offer them better hygiene and sanitation. Due to Covid, buyers were constantly hesitant to buy things from the streets.  

Mohammad Kafeel, 19, a clay shop owner on the streets of Lucknow said that sales saw a huge dip during Diwali. The diyas were sold at lesser rates than usual,  leaving them in debt. People lost their economic stability due to the lockdown and hence could not buy diyas like they used to. Despite following all the Covid-19 sanitization protocols,  people did not purchase, he added.  

This year the production of diyas was on the rise as people from other professions were also selling clay products to redeem their  losses,  he continued. Their families suffered with them and sometimes even slept without having a decent meal. A lot of the clay products come from Assam, for which they must pay to the producer. 

Sakshi Deep Srivastava, 24, said that she did not visit the street diya vendors to make purchases for Diwali. She preferred the sanitized departmental stores considering her and her family’s safety. “Even when we ran out of diyas the last moment, we preferred rushing back to our departmental store, rather than instantly purchasing diyas from the street vendors,” she added.

Diyas at a departmental store in Lucknow

She said that this was never the situation before. Till last year, she and her family preferred purchasing clay diyas and pots from the local vendors. But, this year has made it difficult for everyone as she cannot risk the health of the people around her by buying from the streets as they don’t guarantee sanitization, she said.

The average income of a street potter is about Rs. 15,000 a month, according to a report. During the summer, when people buy clay water pots their income even reaches Rs. 35,000 a month. This summer season went dry for the potters as people did not want to risk and buy pots from the streets because they feared the virus. 

The report also suggests that older people in the pottery business do not want their future generations to continue with pottery. They want their children and grandchildren to move away from this and find other ways to earn a livelihood.

A clay shop on the streets of Lucknow

Archana Singh, Business Professor in a University in Lucknow said, “Local pottery products usually were promoted by the government at exhibitions and fairs. Because these fairs and exhibitions stopped, the potters have suffered these losses at large.”

“People suffered low budgets and job losses this year which stopped them from buying these products. On the other hand, people were scared of contracting the virus, therefore they did not buy from the streets,” she added. 


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