| Chief minister Tarun Gogoi hands over a cheque to a muga rearer in Guwahati on Wednesday. Forest minister Rakibul Hussain and sericulture minister Pranati Phukan are also seen. Picture by UB Photos |
Guwahati, Oct. 30: The Assam government is planning to set up model muga villages in 10 districts of the state to promote and produce the indigenous silk variety.
Assam sericulture minister Pranati Phukan announced this during a function organised on Muga Day in the city today. The government will also establish a sericulture college as part of this initiative.
Chief minister Tarun Gogoi and environment and forest minister Rakibul Hussain were present on the occasion. The chief minister laid the foundation of a sericulture museum at Khanapara.
The state government aims to take steps for safeguarding the quality of muga silk and prevent traders from duping customers by selling silk similar to muga.
Many traders in the state have been selling Banarasi silk to people in the name of authentic Assam silk which led to protests by silk weavers in Sualkuchi this year.
“Muga silk reflects the rich Assamese tradition. Its quality is far more superior to other types of silk. To enhance its production we will take up a project to establish model silk villages in 10 districts across the state. Right from rearing of the silkworm to production of the muga yarn and weaving of the final product will be done in these villages. Apart from generating employment, it will help promote muga. We will be establishing a sericulture college to involve the new generation in this craft so that this tradition remains alive,” Phukan said.
Muga, the golden-yellow silk, is obtained from the semi-domesticated multivoltine silkworm that is found in the Brahmaputra valley only.
Of the total Assam silk production of 2,019 metric tonnes in 2011-2012, the production of muga was 115 metric tonnes.
Muga provides self-employment to more than 44,000 families, including ancillary units in the state. The government will set up sericulture museums in different parts of the state where information about every aspect of production of different varieties of Assam silk will be showcased.
“We have 409 silk-rearing farms, but many farms have been encroached upon. Now we are taking measures to evict the encroachers and plant more trees,” said Phukan.
“It is essential to create awareness about the richness of muga silk and develop muga production. Most of the farmers rearing the muga-producing silkworm reside in villages and hence, we want to aid them increase their produce and also generate more employment opportunities through the process,” the chief minister said.
“We should also consult experts from other places for exchange of knowhow on silk to enhance its productivity. I am positive that establishment of a sericulture college will help in involving the new generation in Assam silk production. We already have a very huge market for Assam silk that can be explored,” he said.