Ganjam: Once a flourishing profession in the district, pottery is now dying a slow death.
There is a substantial fall in the number of people taking up pottery as an occupation mainly due to non-availability of quality soil and other material, and the indifference of the government towards the profession.
Potters of Rangelimunda, Chhikarada and Kukudamundi blocks in Ganjam district work as labourers and cultivate vegetables as the government is not concerned about them.
There are still some potters who are emotionally attached to their traditional profession and have not given it up. They earn their livelihood by selling earthen pots, flower vases, lamps etc.
The second problem haunting the profession is return on investment. As making earthen utensils is no more a profitable business due to the rising costs of soil and low returns, potters are not keen on continuing.
Haribandhu Behera, a potter, said they are taking loans from moneylenders to make earthen pots, and if they did not get the right price they get into debts.
He said that although around 400 villagers of the blocks are engaged in this traditional business the government is not providing any help to them.
Social worker Kailash Chandra Mohanthy said that since many years the potters are struggling to earn their livelihood. But neither government help nor bank loans have been provided to them.
Another potter said, “Earthen utensils and pitchers like ‘surahi’ and other containers are still in high demand, especially in summer as the water inside clay pots remain cool. Earthen utensils play an important part in Hindu rituals. But it is the step motherly attitude of the government which makes us give up this profession.”
“We don’t want our children to face the hardships that we have been facing. Our children are asking us to give up this profession due to hardships,” 70-year-old potter, Ganesh Behera said.