About 400 potters of Malipara and Kazipara under Panchagarh sadar upazila have been living a sub-human life as their income from the sale of earthen kitchenware is grossly inadequate to sustain them. In the past, the potters had brisk business with the pottery. Dishes, pots, flower vases, pitchers, dolls and many other kitchenware made from clay had great demand to all classes of people. The income of all the potters from the sale of different earthen products was good enough for the livelihood of their families. With the appearance of plastic and aluminum products in the markets, the heyday of the people associated with the pottery industry started fading. Even the people of low income bracket of this district as elsewhere in the country now prefer to buy plastic and aluminum products because of their durability, cheap prices and attractive design.
A potter of village Malipara under Dhakkamara union said the prices of all kinds of inputs such as clay, dyes, mould and other materials for making kitchenware have soared and as a result, they have lost their competitive edge over the plastic and aluminum products. He pointed out that it has now become very difficult to realize production cost by selling earthenware.
Talking to New Age, Gonesh Pal of village Malipara said as many as 250 potters belonging to 50 families have been struggling for existence following drastic fall in the demand of their products. Many of them have to remain half-fed almost everyday due to their acute financial crisis, he added. Kurmar Sri Biswanath of village Kazipara spoke in the same frustrating tone about the plight of the plotters of his village. Most of the potters of the two villages said they needed loan on easy terms to stay afloat in this industry.