|The National Institute of Fashion Technology in Shillong
Umsawli (Meghalaya), Sept. 7: The National Institute of Fashion Technology Shillong was today advised to tour the interiors of Meghalaya to upscale the talent of weavers who have been struggling for sustenance.
The advice was given at a foundation stone laying ceremony here, nearly 15km from the capital, where Union textiles minister Kavuru Sambasiva Rao and Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma laid the base for the construction of the permanent campus of NIFT Shillong.
The area is located within the confines of the New Shillong Township where other institutions are also coming up.
The campus will be constructed on around 20 acres at a cost of nearly Rs 49.5 crore within a tentative timeframe of two years.
“Fashion technology in our country is no longer confined to the affluent class. It has gone beyond limits. But what the government is required to do is to open up windows of opportunities,” Rao said in his address.
The Union minister, who interacted with a student of NIFT Shillong during the course of his speech, said fashion technology had a “bright prospect”, which can make one a global citizen.
He urged NIFT authorities to collaborate with foreign institutes so that its students could acquire more skills.
“We are citizens of the globe. We are not limiting ourselves to the villages we are born to or the city (we grow up in). We have access everywhere,” Rao added.
Asserting that NIFT Shillong students are second to none, he urged that the campus here should become a model and a guide for others.
“Do not think that you are less than students from Delhi or Mumbai where they are glued to fashion every day,” Rao said.
Sangma said 50 per cent of the Indian weavers were located in the Northeast. He also stressed on the need for institutes like NIFT to partner with local weavers.
“Go and interact with villagers. We need to partner with the silk farmers who will provide you with the yarn so that you can produce exclusive textile products,” he said.
Sangma also said sericulture and weaving industry in the state was beginning to pick up where the government intends to create a competent workforce, which would in turn contribute to the textile industry. “For the textile industry in the country to grow, we need to invest outside the metros,” he added.
Later, Rao told reporters that his ministry would provide all necessary support to make the sericulture and weaving industry vibrant. “I have promised him (Sangma) support from the ministry and this will be done without any loss of time.”
He said the Centre had sanctioned nearly Rs 490 crore as a loan waiver for the struggling weavers across the country. Another Rs 500 crore will be provided to debt-ridden weavers, he added.
The handloom sector provides employment to 43.31 lakh persons engaged on 23.77 lakh handlooms across the country. It accounts for 15 per cent of textile production and makes a significant contribution in export earnings.