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GST not a dampener for Ganesh festival, say idol sellers

City artisans say the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has not impacted the prices of either the idols or decorative material this Ganesh festival. Mangal Gore, owner of Shree Samarth Kripa Crafts, said, “I have been setting up a stall of Ganesha idols for the last 14 years.

However, fearing GST, many presumed that even the rates of our goods would go up. But… our supply has remained affordable and wide ranging.”

This has surely come as a welcome relief for buyers, many of whom had anticipated sharp price rises post GST.

Echoing the views of many buyers, Dr Rashmi Verma, said, “We had come to the market around 10 am, but seeing the crowd, we decided to look deeper in Bori Ali. The market had all the items we required — hardened thermocol for archway, bundles of ropes, flowers and of course, local spices and food items. Thankfully, GST has affected the prices of these products. There has been, in fact, no change in our expenditure from last year.”

This year, most of the sellers have also replaced chemical thermocol and other synthetic products with environment-friendly and easily-dissolvable idols, which are, though a little costly, but hardly affect the budget, she added.

Gore said, “Previously, the idols could take anything from upto a day or month to dissolve. So, overall, ecological idols have been a smart invention.”

Shop owners also pointed out at the preference for Indian products, rather than Chinese goods this year.

Malik Sheikh from Karim’ Handcraft Associate, said, “Neither have we received any specific order for Chinese products, nor have we requested them from our suppliers. Besides, artisans have also been exploring various ways to make the idols using homegrown resources. Colours of the idols, too, are produced in Kolhapur, using natural ingredients, not chemicals. We have also started using plaster of paris, which is cheaper than the chemically-hardened thermocol imported from China.”

With the introduction of e-wallet and cab-hiring services, transactions, too, have become faster. Anita Deshpande, another vendor, said, “Aajkal hum Paytm bhi lete hai (We have started accepting payment through Paytm).

People come in groups to make purchases. There is, of course, the growth of incoming traffic, but this is only healthy business for us.”

“We are able to take money faster, giving us more time to deal with the growing demands,” she added.

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