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Pottery businesses threatened due to shortage of clay in Nepal

Pottery Photograph:( ANI )

ANI Bhaktapur, Nepal Oct 26, 2019, 12.19 PM (IST)

It has already been over four decades that Buddhi Ram Prajapati has been in the pottery business which he inherited from his forefathers.

Prajapati never thought of changing his profession, until now. The clay he used for pottery is running out.

"We use to bring the clay from Jagati (Bhaktapur) where we use to get it abundantly but now it is coming to an end as more houses are being built over. Now we are bringing the clay from some other place. Sometimes we bring it from Harishiddhi (Lalitpur) and sometimes from Sankhu (Kathmandu), wherever the clay is available I have to buy it from there," Buddhi Ram Prajapati told ANI while making his pottery's.

Price of a vehicle loaded with clays ranges from NPR 700 - 10,000 per vehicle for a trip.

"The previous place (Jagati) from where we use to bring on the clay is numbered to be best, but with clay from the new place; we cannot make some big items. Quality of clay from the previously brought places was much fertile and there was less chance of breaking of the items but the items made from the new clays breaks quite often," Prajapati complained.

According to him, clay from newer places has a high composition of sand which decreases the quality of pottery items.

Potters have to go to farther distance in search of clay which consumes more time and additional expenses, consequently plummeting the price of pottery items.

Potters usually get a profit of NPR 2 on a "Pala", traditional earthen lamp and NPR 8 from the sale of a "Matka", a cup made of clay which is meant for single use only. But the price goes high if they use high-quality black clay.

In order to maintain the price as well as the quality of products along with continuing these inherited ancestral businesses, Prajapati said he is thinking of purchasing land with fine quality clay.

"We have been searching for places with clay that fits us or else buying land where we can get the required clay abundantly, we are thinking of it," Buddhi Ram Prajapati said amid the confusion as his business lingers in the uncertainty.

The Pottery Square here attracts a large number of tourists as well as buyers of the pottery items which are found in a comparatively lower price than in the main market.

Prajapati clan which is the oldest residing family of this particular square in Bhaktapur has been preserving and promoting the pottery business from ancient time. Though their business is under threat, they are determined not to leave the business at any cost.

"If there's no clay, there comes situation none other than quitting the business but I won't leave my profession till the clay exists there," Buddhi Ram Prajapati said.