Hundreds of potters in the district are struggling for survival as their traditional products, serving especially the rural people for centuries, are no longer in demand.
Lack of marketing facilities and price hike of raw materials add to the situation.
Amid serious hardship, potter Saptomi Paul, 43, of Natun Bazar has recently sold out her house and started living on a roadside khas land in the area.
“Presently I earn only Tk 90 to 100 a day which is much less than the earning of a day labour,” she said.
“Earlier we could earn a decent living by selling our products in the area as well as other districts. But gone are the days,” said Meneka Rani Paul, 45, of Chunaripara village of Baroghoria union in Chapainawabganj Sadar upazila.
Her five sons and two daughters are also engaged in the traditional business at Chunaripara village of Baroghoria union in Chapainawabganj Sadar upazila.
The potters usually make different domestic utensils like plates, bowls, cooking pots. But these traditional earthen items have greatly lost their attraction, both in urban and rural areas, as utensils made of plastic, steel or melamine have come into popular use.
Many people belonging to over 150 potter families in Natun Bazar, Chunaripara, Bazarpara and Puraton Bazar of Baroghoria union of Chapainawabganj Sadar upazila have left their traditional profession as their product have hardly any place in the local markets, said potter Godadhar Paul of Chunaripara village.
Often potters find it hard to recover even their production cost as the prices of raw materials like earth, firewood, and colour have gone up but prices of pottery items cannot be raised due to its low demand, he added.
“Now a potter can hardly earn Tk 80 to 100 a day which is too inadequate to maintain a family. And so, the traditional artistes are leaving the profession and becoming rickshaw pullers or day labourers to earn a living,” said potter Khagen Chandra Paul of Natun Bazar.
Potters have urged the government and non-government organisations to take steps to save the traditional cottage industry as well as the livelihood of hundreds of the potters in Chapainawabganj district.