The Dokra craftsmen of Nabajibanpur, a small village under the Saptasajya Gram Panchayat of Dhenkanal district, are reeling under the coronavirus pandemic since last year. The pandemic has robbed away the earnings of the artisans as the footfalls of tourists have declined amid the pandemic outbreak.
The artisans were already living in plight as the policies of the state government were not availed to them. Adding to their woes, this pandemic has hit their business at the worst.
Almost 100 families of the village earn their livelihood by dokra craft making and live there without basic amenities. However, they survive by selling their crafts in the domestic and outside market but after the outbreak of Covid-19 their business has tumbled down to the lowest.
“Since last 50 years, I am making dokra craft and earning my livelihood by selling them. Before Covid-19 pandemic I use to do a business of more than Rs 5000 but now could rarely make any money. Due to several restrictions of Covid-19, we are not able to move out of the state for selling our crafts as a result our income has become limited,” said Suman Pradhan, a dokra artisan in the village.
Apart from the restricted income, the villagers also claim that no support from the government is provided to them in this regard. They were already kept deprived of the policies and now the situation has worsened with the pandemic.
“I am over 60 and only getting the BPL rice from the government despite several other policies,” added Pradhan.
Another villager claimed that no facilities for proper sanitation and drinking water have been provided to the villagers which raises concern at these crucial times of the pandemic.
Worth mentioning, Dokra craft has put the Dhenkanal district on the world map, creating a special image for the craft not only in the domestic market but also in the foreign market.
Dokra art is a craft being prepared by metal casting using the lost wax casting technique. For centuries these artisans are making this craft and many local and foreign tourists visit here to buy this crafts. Dokra crafts are too showcased in the different fairs for sale.
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