According to the statistics shared by Ganpati idol dealers in the city, the demand for idols, especially eco-friendly ones, from abroad has risen this year. Until last year, Grahak Peth, one of the dealers of Ganpati idols, sold around 13 to 14 shadu maati idols to customers overseas. This year, they have already sold around 30 such idols so far.

“Foreign countries are far stricter than India about environmental issues. This could be the reason why more people are demanding eco-friendly idols,” said Suryakant Pathak, managing director of Grahak Peth.

The increase in the demand is despite the fact that eco-friendly idols are costlier than those made of Plaster of Paris (PoP). The reason being, says Pathak, is that shadu maati and the colour come from Gujarat and the labour charges for making such idols are higher. “Shadu maati idols cost 10 per cent more than the PoP ones. Besides, they are delicate and need to be handled carefully,” he added.

“There is a 50 per cent increase in the orders for idols from abroad. Most of the orders were from Australia, The Netherlands, USA and Canada,” said Ashish Palande, director of Palande Couriers. To avoid damage to the idols, the courier firm was using press-rubber packaging, which is considered better than thermocol or bubble packing, he added.

On an average, a medium-sized idol costs anything from Rs 300 to Rs 350. However, the courier charges may vary from Rs 5,000 to Rs 6000, depending upon the country one is sending it to. “Some countries to which my customers have sent the idols are The Netherland, USA, Dubai and Australia,” said Pathak.

Mandar Desai, director of Desai Bandhu, another prominent Ganpati idol dealer in the city, said compared to last year, the demand for eco-friendly idols shot up by almost 15 per cent this year and most of the orders were from USA and Singapore. “People prefer small idols for sending abroad. We have an offer of Rs 5,800 under which a small Ganpati idol can be sent to any place. The cost includes price of the idol, packing as well as courier charges,” said Desai.

For the last two years, city-based businessman Vikram Jadhav had been sending a PoP Ganpati idol to the Maharashtra Mandal of Toronto. This year, however, he sent an eco-friendly idol. “As the trend of eco-friendly idols has recently picked up, I sent one this year,” said Jadhav.