‘We cannot even bear the cost of making this products, as the price of everything is rising so rapidly. People now a days are not interested in clay based products. It is us, who are suffering at the end of the day.’ Tamiz Uddin was saying the words with tears in his eyes. He is a potter, living in Jaldhaka Upazila of Nilphamari.
The once busy Kumarpara is now very quiet. According to Kumarera, this industry is about to disappear due to various crises including increasing demand for modern and plastic products in the market, lack of government patronage and increase in the price of special soil used for this work.
Those who are still clinging to this profession are living in poverty as there is no demand for clay products. The people of this community live around organizing Bengali New Year fairs and exhibitions. No one now buys this clay product in the weekly haats. As a result, their lives are going on in starvation-semi-starvation. They are not good. Many of the clay pots made remain unsold.
Many families in Bogulagari area of the Upazila were once involved in this profession.
Many family members have left this profession and joined other professions in order to earn a living.
Potter Taiyab Ali said, We have been making earthenware for generations. Although involved in this profession, the government has not taken any steps for our development or financial support.
Potter Monayem lamented that it takes seven days to completely prepare these items made of clay, including drying and painting. Later these were taken to Jaldhaka haat and different areas of the district for sale. It is no longer possible to do this because there is no price.
Upazila Vice Chairman Golam Pasha Elich said that potters are losing interest as the demand for clay products is decreasing and they have to buy clay from distant areas at high prices. However, some families have remained in this profession for generations.
Mayor Elias Hossain Bablu, president of Jaldhaka Chamber of Commerce, said that potters have contributed greatly to economic development. There are many opportunities for their cooperation. If the lending authorities can list the potters through the local administration and provide small loans, financial facilities, then at least they can survive. The pottery community is our heritage. This god must be protected from extinction.