Toy industry in Varanasi passing through a rough phase

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Varanasi, Mar 13 : Toy industry of Varanasi is losing its sheen as it has been forced to use low quality woods following the ban on 'Koraiyya' wood traditionally used for making toys.

The cottage industry has suffered a setback due to the ban on the supply of Korraiya wood as per the forest preservation act.

The colorfully designed toys depicting dolls, animals, birds and other figurines have been in huge demand besides the domestic markets in many countries including France, Russia, Germany and Hong Kong.

But that is not the case now as Varanasi's toy industry is no longer producing quality products for which it has been known. oupled with electricity woes the problems of the industry have complicated as it is compelled to use low-grade Eucalyptus wood.

"First, we have problem of electricity and then the problem of wood because of which the business has faced a set back.

Earlier, we used to get 'Koraiyya' wood for making toys, but now there are woods like Eucalyptus. Before our products had good finishing, but now toys doesn't have good finishing and shine. The wood that we use now is waste for us because it is only fit for burning and grows naturally. Apart from this, woods that we use now are expensive and wet and the manufacturers are not satisfied with the quality," said Ram Shankar, a toy maker.

The toy makers claim that the wood that is being used now not only lacks the requisite finish, but toys made from it develop cracks in course of time and this has lead to the decline in the marketing of the toys.

The toy makers hold the government policies responsible for their woes.

"The attitude of the government is callous. Had it been concerned then the way it had planted trees like Eucalyptus it should have grown 'Koraiyya' tree with the help of the forest department. It could have taken some steps to help us and that could have helped in the growth of the industry and the number of people engaged in the business could have increased manifold and the toy making business could have done wonders in the market but sadly it is not the case," said Brahmanand Sharma, an exporter.

Due to the lack of governmental support many toy makers unable to withstand the crisis have switched to other businesses.he number of artisans engaged in toy making has also declined to 300 from 4,000.

These artisans are still clinging to the traditional craft hoping that the government will take some initiative to bring them out of the woods.

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