N-Indian artists prefer to stay back

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Mumbai, Jul 20 (UNI) With celebrations of the Elephant God- Ganesha round the corner, the demand for idols from abroad has already reached here much ahead of the festival, but murtikars' (idol makers) this year are facing shortage of artists owing to ongoing tirade against North Indians.

The Maharashtra Murtikar Mahasangh (MMM) President Ramesh Rawale told UNI, ''We are facing acute shortage of artists because of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena's tirade against North Indians. Most of the artists, who hail from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have this year, fearing the attack on them, preferred to stay back at their native place.'' Mr Rawale said, at least 30 to 40 per cent artists, who used to come to the state three to four months before Ganesh festival, have not turned up this year.

Elaborating about the artists, he said initially they used to come here as helpers to artists at the wage of Rs 3,000 to 4,000 per month and then go back once the festival ended. After two-three years, they learn the work and then they become artists and draw wages in the range of Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000 per month.

''The local populace does not want to work as helpers that too at low wages and paying them higher wages is not affordable for the manufacturers and therefore, people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, who are ready to do the work at the wages offered to them, are called,'' Mr Rawale said.

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