The wood artisans in Thammampatti are going through a rough pace during lockdown and they are pinning their hopes on government support to tide over the situation.
Known for their craftmanship internationally, most of the craftsmen are now struggling to make their ends meet.
P.Sengotavel, president, Thammampatti Wood Carvers Association, said that the business had been dull and with the lockdown, most of the workshops had halted work. They were not getting orders from foreign countries as well in the current situation.
N.Durairaj, a National Award winner from here, said that unlike previous years, they had not received much orders from the beginning of the year due to COVID-19. A few cases had been reported from their locality as well and this area had been marked as containment zone. Some of the craftsmen were hopeful of temple chariot works and those too had been affected. Some craftsmen were fulfilling previous orders. Most of them had taken loans to meet the needs, he said.
Currently, they did not have sufficient wood to carry out the work. While some craftsmen worked on their own, others had assistants and work had to be stopped as they could not follow physical distancing norms.
C.Srinivasan, an artisan, said the cash and ration relief announced by the government would not help them. There were over 150 craftsmen here and their families were struggling. With tourism being affected, they did not receive many orders and there were payment dues as well. “We usually bring wood from Thanjavur and Cuddalore districts and currently we do not have means for that as well,” he said.
He said the Central Cottage Industries Corporation and Poompuhar should procure their works directly from them. It would help them manage for the moment and procure raw materials for the next set of orders.