Pune: Pandal contractors business decreased to 5%

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Mrunal Jadhav

Pune, August 27, 2020: The global coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has adversely hit human and business across the globe. While the magnitude may vary from sector to sector, it has abruptly impacted more or less on every small or big business. Every year the pandal contractors have a turnover of around Rs 25 crores, but this year they have only made 5 percent of the business. As for the first time in years, Ganesh festival in Pune is being celebrated at a low key, with absolutely no big pandals and limited to no crowd strolling or pandal hopping in the city. This has badly hit the pandal contractors and decorator’s business.

Amidst the pandemic outbreak, the civic administration has also requested citizens to abide by the precautionary norms to avoid contracting the infection. The Maharashtra government, municipal corporation and police had also appealed to the Ganeshostav organisers to install Ganesh idols in the temple.

The Mandap or pandal installation begins from Gokul Ashtami, for Dahi handi celebration. But this year Dahi handi celebration was cancelled and followed by Ganeshotsav being celebrated with minimal decor and simplicity.

There are over thousand small and big pandal contractors including SG Gokhale and Associates, Date and Company, Kature Mandav Wale in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad area. Around 40 pandal decorators are registered as members with the Mandap decorator association. The pandal contractors stated that post lockdown they were expecting scope for employment and some growth in business, however their hopes dampen due to less business during Ganeshostav. They also stated that many farmers and workers come from rural areas to fetch a temporary job especially during the festival season and work with them in installing pandals, but this year they too couldn’t come for work.

SG Ashutosh Gokhale and Associates owner Ashutosh Gokhale said, “Every year we install pandals for 20 major Ganesh Mandals. This year, only three or four mandals have set up pandals measuring 10 feet by 10 feet, as most of the mandals have installed Ganarayas in the temple to prevent the spread of corona. Farmers from Osmanabad, Solapur and Latur come to Pune after the completion of agricultural work to get some work as a mandap installer before Ganeshotsav. However, this time the farmers didn’t come due to the lockdown. “

Deepak Date of Date and Company also said, “we install pandals at 40 Ganesh mandals in the city but this year we have established only seven pandals of 10 feet by 10 feet in size. At least 20 people would come to work with us from villages but even they couldn’t come this year to Pune. Since Ganeshotsav is celebrated simply, there is no work left of mandap installation.”