The newly-introduced Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime has thrown the potters of Kumartuli, who craft the famed Durga idols, into a tizzy. With two-and-a-half months to go for Durga Puja, the biggest festival in east India, the potters are at a loss over the offshore delivery of fibre-based idols. “To countries like the US, some in Europe, we deliver fibre images. We tie up with transport agencies who ferry these idols via cargo ship. But after GST, there is an increase in service tax (18 per cent) and consequently the extra delivery charges will be forwarded to the customer offshore. This has created confusion in terms of logistics.
“The idol delivery is usually in full swing at this time of the year, but this time round, it is slow till now,” Babu Pal, spokesperson for the potters, told IANS. He said around 60 fibre idols had been readied this year but only a few were delivered. “The rest are awaiting transport. Once the customers abroad are made aware of the hike, we hope, they will agree with the required payment,” added Pal. As for domestic demand of idols, Pal said there would be an impact on the orders placed by other states. “For the idols that will be transported to states like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, there will be an increase in the service tax and so the overall budget will increase. As for the demand in West Bengal, we think there will be no such effect,” Pal added.