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Nepali sculptors saddened as people prioritise statues from India

By Siraj Khan

Nepalgunj, Sept 30 : Nepali sculptors have been saddened after locals of Banke imported statues of Goddess Durga from India to celebrate the festival of Dashain.

Villages across Banke district install statue of Goddess Durga for 10 days and organise special worship during Dashain.

While several sculptors are working in Nepalgunj Sub-metropolitan City, their statues aren’t used by the locals. The sculptors informed that it was turning hard to earn their livelihood as they were ignored by their own people.

Ankit Mishra, a sculptor from Ward No. 10 of Nepalgunj, said that he had prepared several statues of Goddess Durga with an aim to sell and earn some good money during Dashain.

“However, only a few statues were bought by people because most rather imported the statues from India,” said Mishra. According to him, he had constructed 30 statues for Dashain.

Locals across Banke, and other Terai districts, seek for Durga statues every year during Dashain. Only in Nepalgunj, over 100 statues of Durga have been established since the day of Ghatasthapana. 

The demand of statues is always high during the festival time but is rather procured from India hampering the businesses of sculptors back home.

“I have no other choice now than to keep the statues safe for next year’s Dashain. I hope I don’t have to keep them any longer than it,” Mishra said.

Similarly, another sculptor Binaya informed that the demand of statues in local market had increased during COVID-19 lockdown but the buyers shifted towards Indian market recently.

“I had sold 50 set of Durga statues during the past two years’ Dashain. I haven’t even sold half the number this year,” said Binay.

The sculptors argued that the Customs charge no tax for the Durga statues imported from India while the local sculptors are bound to pay tax for goods imported to make a statue.

This is why the price of statues are higher in Nepal compared to India, sculptors stressed.

Stakeholders argue that the government should bring policy to lift the livelihood and to honour the arts of local sculptors by halting the import of statues from India.

“Those artists making statues in the country should be honoured for their hard work. Bringing statues from India despite it being available in local market is wrong. It should be stopped and authorities should take proper steps towards it,” said social worker Arbind Sharma.

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