Ranchi, Jan. 3: If an initiative by the Latehar district administration succeeds, the wheels of fortune could well turn for struggling weavers and put cottage and handloom industry in Jharkhand back on track.
Touted as the first such initiative in the state, the Latehar administration is set to launch a dyeing and handloom processing factory by the end of January. Deputy commissioner Aradhna Patnaik told The Telegraph that they are working on the project in association with Jharcraft.
Patnaik said four buildings have come up at Pokhree in Burwadih block for the purpose. This region is traditionally considered a hub of cotton and handloom products. But lack of resources, proper knowhow and expertise have pushed the age-old profession to the brink. With no other sources of income available, risk of trafficking and involvement in anti-social activities have risen.
“With this project, we are trying to link people, especially women in this area, with the global market. Although people here are traditional and handloom carpet weavers and makers, their earnings are meagre due to high raw material cost, lack of processing units and marketing knowhow. So, we are setting up a processing and dyeing unit which will help them give finishing touches to their products and our partner Jharkcraft will help in training, sourcing raw materials and marketing the products,” said Patnaik, adding that earnings of weavers would naturally increase.
“This region also falls under Saryu zone because of which we are treating this as high priority. So far the products were being sent to Bhadoi in UP for dyeing and processing but no more will they have to do this,” she said.
Training for the project has already begun. Patnaik said around 100 self-help women’s groups have been enrolled, but they are targeting around 5,000 women in the area.
Of the four buildings, one will be dedicated to silk and tussar activities, one for training, one for dyeing and the last one for processing. Speaking about funds, Patnaik said they are being sourced from the Integrated Action Plan project, administration budget and industries department.
This apart, the administration is working to revive a honey processing plant in Betla that was closed over a year ago for want of latest equipment.
“The plant was installed in Betla region around six-seven years ago but after running for a few years, it got grounded due to technical reasons. Jharcraft has expressed its willingness to install new machines for this,” Patnaik said.