The team from Bengal at a presentation on Jharcraft in Ranchi on Tuesday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
If imitation is the best form of flattery, neighbouring Bengal is giving Jharkhand a reason to preen over its silken success story called Jharcraft.
A six-member team of the Bengal government on Tuesday visited Ranchi to explore a tie-up with Jharcraft, Jharkhand’s silk, textile and handicraft development corporation, in technical know-how and consultancy.
In September 2011, while inaugurating Jharcraft’s second store in Calcutta, Bengal minister of state for micro and small-scale enterprises, textile and irrigation Manas Ranjan Bhunia had evinced interest in setting up a similar corporation in his state.
Reportedly, Jharcraft’s tagline, “creating opportunities, changing lives”, struck a chord with Bhunia.
The Bengal team comprised Tantuja managing director Robin Roy, Paschim Banga Resham Silpi Samabaya Samiti managing director Arunima De, micro and small scale enterprises (M & SSE) joint directors Biswadip Roy Chowdhury and Partha Chowdhury, M & SSE assistant director Bivas Bose and law officer S. Pal.
The delegation met Jharcraft managing director Dhirendra Kumar and also visited Nayasarai on the capital’s outskirts to see an all-women silk and cotton weaving cluster and training centre.
Bengal’s M & SSE director K. Ahmed wrote in a letter that they wanted “interactive sessions” on the workings of Jharcraft.
Jharcraft, one of Jharkhand’s bona fide successes in India and abroad, has turned on its head normal assumptions of state-run enterprises becoming the last refuge of scoundrels.
The corporation, a Rs 50 lakh entity in 2007-08, showed a turnover of over Rs 70 crore in 2011-12.
It promotes Kuchai silk and has obtained an organic tag for the tussar variant grown by farmers of Kolhan and Santhal Pargana belts.
It also trains and employs over two lakh rural Jharkhand residents, including women weavers.
It also has 25 emporiums in India, including all metros, with two in Calcutta — in Camac Street and in Narendrapur — and is mulling on two franchisee outlets in Michigan (US) and Mauritius. It has a growing offshore presence with export orders from Germany, Italy and the US.
“The Bengal minister had praised our efforts and directed the Bengal officials to follow our success model. He wanted a similar corporation in Bengal with our technical know-how,” Kumar, an Indian Forest Service official on deputation in the state industry department as Jharcraft’s MD, told The Telegraph.
He added that they were equipped to give consultancy to Bengal. “We will charge for our services,” Kumar added.