Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, June 11:
The lack of availability of necessary stones is taking its toll on Odisha sculptors, who are left with no choice but to part ways with the vocation of generations that had brought them repute on a global scale.
Stones like Khondalite, Granite, Baulamala, Kendumundi, Gorara are the ones needed most by stone artists for various forms of sculpture. These are usually procured from places like Khiching, Tapang, Barbil, Balasore, Khandagiri and Ghatikia. However, after the mining scam broke, a ban was imposed on stone mining in most areas.
Even though there is huge demand in the country and abroad for stone art and sculptures made in Odisha, lack of stones means the artists and sculptors are not able to deliver on the job. Artists are not able to commit on delivery for high-paying foreign orders from USA, Germany, Hungary and Australia either.
“I have a contract worth Rs 4 crores to build sculptures for Pune’s Jagannath temple. But I have not been able to deliver on the contract since a long time as I can’t source the required Khondalite stones anymore,” rued Sushil Kumar Moharana, who has earned international recognition for his marvellous stone statues.
Many sculptors we spoke to voiced similar opinions. While some informed that they are procuring the smuggled stones from the black market at a high price, many others have quit the profession altogether.
While the state handicraft department has deliberated on the issue, no concrete action has been taken to sort the issue out.
“We had written letters to all concerned parties all over the state, but haven’t received any reply yet. We expect that license would soon be issued for stone mining from Mayurbhanj’s Adiguru and Khurda’s Sarangarh. We can procure Khondalite and Granite from these places,” said Inspector of Cooperative Societies GK Patnaik.