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GST drives Ganesh idol prices up in Telangana

Hyderabad: Ganesh idols have become dearer. The Goods and Service Tax (GST) on colours, fibre, foam, clay and scrap saw their prices skyrocketing by 30 per cent to 80 per cent.

Mr Sundar Kalakar, a well-known artist, who gets orders from all over the country, said, “I used to procure materials worth Rs 29 lakh every year. This time, most of the raw materials, like clay, plaster,  foam, steel and fibre which were not taxed, is having a 18 per cent GST. Last year, we procured high quality stone plaster at Rs 1,700 per tonne which rose to Rs 2,000 per tonne this year. Similarly, the cost of fibre has increased from Rs 4,200 to Rs 5,800 for a 35-kg bag. The colour prices, too, rose by 50 per cent. Besides, the prices of paints have also increased. All these led to a rise in expenditure.”

S. Thirupathi Reddy, a Ganesh pandal organiser in Rajendra Nagar, said, “Last year, we purchased a 10-feet idol for Rs 5,500 and this year we had to shell out Rs 9,500 for the same idol. Besides, transportation charges have also increased,” he said.

Mr Ravinder Singh, a vendor at Jummeraat bazaar, said, “The prices have hiked between 30 per cent to 80 per cent this year.” Furthermore, the demolition drive on idol-making units in Dhoolpet, which used to house more than 100 big and 150 small units, also impacted the supply in the city.

Due to a land dispute, the Hyderabad Revenue Department demolished about 50 units six months ago, forcing artists to get fresh land on lease. These units used to start work six months before Vinayaka Chaturthi. Due to the demolitions, production by major units came down considerably.

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