Once upon a time, splendiferous light displays, the handiwork of talented light artistes from Chandannagar, were a distinctive feature of many of the big and medium budget Kolkata Durga pujas but since the start of the Covid-19 two years ago, the Chandannagar light business has been on the decline.
Many illumination artists and karigars (workers), feeling insecure of retaining their livelihood in the business have shifted to other professions. Babu Pal, the top illuminative artist of Chandannagar said: “Chandannagar’s illuminative lights are renowned worldwide. Usually our business picks up momentum around Durga puja. Most of the high and medium budget Kolkata Durga puja prefer Chandannagar illuminative lights.
We also received work orders from other Indian states and abroad. On many occasions we could not meet the work orders It was considered as one of the most flourishing and soaring businesses.
“However the entire picture changed with the outbreak of Covid-19. Since the last two years practically there were no work orders. This year only a few big budget Kolkata Durga pujas decided to go with illuminating lights. There have been no work orders from other states like Delhi, Odisha, UP, Jharkhand. We are getting as low as 40 per cent of our usual business.
“Over 125 illumination light artists and more than 10 thousand karigars are directly involved in the business but the present situation is so grave that many artists and karigars have opted for other means of livelihood. The
abrupt decline in the illuminative light business has caused alarm and insecurity among those involved in the business.”