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Jharkhand purse gets fatter at Delhi fair

Business has been brisk for Jharkhand at the India International Trade Fair (IITF) in New Delhi this year, with its motley mix of artists and entrepreneurs raking in Rs 20 lakh till the penultimate day on Monday.

State industry secretary A.P. Singh, who has been camping at Pragati Maidan in the national capital for two days, said half a dozen stalls out of the 24 at the Jharkhand pavilion were both crowd magnets and money-spinners.

“Visitors were amazed to see Sabar artisans crafting moneybags, pen stands, showpieces and containers with things as ubiquitous and mundane as grass and coconut fibre. The live demo by the community from Nimdih area of Seraikela-Kharsawan was a big crowd-puller,” Singh said.

He added that members of this primitive tribe were trained by a select group of experts from National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) under the ambitious Integrated Action Plan (IAP) scheme of the Centre meant for Left-wing extremism affected districts. “The craftsmen, who once earned a paltry Rs 2,000 a month, are earning over Rs 6,000 after implementation of the IAP scheme last year. They were trained for nine months.”

Going by the theme of the fair, Skilling India, the Sabar stall has been christened Skilling Jharkhand. The demo kiosk won the first prize from chief minister Arjun Munda during Jharkhand Day celebrations on Sunday.

Besides Sabars, artists from Hazaribagh saw their coffers swelling. Barhi’s pride Sunil Kumar Mishra’s bamboo showpieces sold like hot cakes. He also received bulk orders to the tune of Rs 10 lakh from Delhi-based firms. Singh pointed out that Mishra had been provided a loan of Rs 1 lakh under the Prime Minister’s employment guarantee programme. “Today, his business is worth several lakhs.”

Jamshedpur-based businesswoman Meenu Rakshit’s handmade herbal soaps, oils and other toiletries were also a hit with visitors as were Daltonganj boy Prem Prakash Bhasin’s unique plant root art.

General manager of Ranchi district industry centre Lal Ram Krishna Nath Shahdeo said the south Indian style namkeens (snacks) from Tatisilwai were so much in demand that proprietors ran out of stock.

The mega trade fair, which began on November 14, concludes on Tuesday, after which the authorities will assess the extent of business.

Shahdeo, who is in charge of the Jharkhand pavilion, claimed that some of the stalls had received bulk orders from Germany and Pakistan.

“We may provide more loans to promising entrepreneurs/artists under government schemes. The IITF has given us an opportunity to feel the state’s entrepreneurial pulse in a better way,” piped in industry secretary Singh.


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