Puri: Cyclonic storm Fani has taken a heavy toll on the potteries of Kumbharpada in the Holy City here.
The cyclone that made a landfall here May 3 has hit around 300 potters’ families in Kumbharpada who usually provide clay pots for the cooking of Mahaprasad at Srimandir.
“At least 80 big potteries and many small ones have been ravaged by the cyclonic storm. More than 50,000 finished clay pots and around 30,000 semi-finished pots have been destroyed by the cyclone. The cyclone has broken the backbone of pottery trade of Kumbharpada,” said a potter.
The potters would take at least two months to repair and rebuild their damaged potteries, said Kumbhakar Niyog president Janardan Das.
Kumbhakar Niyog secretary Rasanand Bisoyi said the district administration has failed to provide drinking water and relief to potters of Kumbharpada.
“The cyclonic storm has damaged properties worth Rs 2 lakh to Rs 3 lakh of each potter’s families of Kumbharpada. We have submitted a memorandum to the state government and sought special package of Rs 6 crore for the affected potters,” said Kumbhakar Niyog member Mahendra Bisoyi.
According to Bisoyi, the potters would face difficulties in getting hay and dry stems to bake the pots. “The cyclone has destroyed many bushes and plants in Puri. There would be shortage of dried up stems to bake pots. It is impossible to provide clay pots to Srimandir for at least two months,” he said.
Bisoyi claimed that the potters would require at least a month to repair and rebuild their damaged potteries and wheels. “We have to source raw materials from Cuttack to build wheels. A potter usually spends Rs 5,000 to construct a wheel,” he said.
Heritage expert Surendra Mishra, meanwhile, urged the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) and the state government to take immediate steps to help the potters in repairing and rebuilding their potteries. “The SJTA needs a lot of clay pots for various routine and special rituals at Srimandir. The temple administration and the state government should consider the issue seriously and act accordingly,” Mishra said.