Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh) [India], September 5 (ANI): With Ganesh Chaturthi just around the corner, artisans making idols of Lord Ganesh in Andhra Pradesh are facing hardships as the state government has decided not to allow Ganesh pandals and immersion processions this year due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Purnima, an artisan said that her business has bear the brunt of the pandemic and claimed she is in debt of lakhs.
"We have been living in Andhra Pradesh for the past 15 years. After the Corona outbreak, our business is totally down. This year also the government decided not to allow pandals and immersion processions. Adhering to this, not even a single buyer came. We are already in debt of Rs 15 to 16 lakhs. We are not even in a position to pay rent for this place. This year we have made almost two hundred small idols for household use. But there are no takers yet," she told ANI.
Another artisan Kishan requested the state government to allow Ganesh pandals.
"There are hundreds of Rajasthani idol makers in Andhra Pradesh. All of us are suffering for the past two years with restrictions on Ganesh pandals. The government has allowed bars, meat shops and other shops to open, but is not allowed to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi. We will not make new idols now. Our priority is to clear the existing stock. If the government will not allow any relaxation, then we will be in distress. We request the state government to reconsider its decision and allow Ganesh pandals," he told ANI.
Opposition BJP also slammed the YSRCP government for not allowing Ganesh pandals and immersion processions and demanded that Hindus be allowed to celebrate their festivals.
While condemning the state government's move, BJP Andhra Pradesh president Somu Veerraju alleged that it is showing discrimination towards Hindus. (ANI)