Visitors at Rashtriya Khadi and Saras Mahotsav at Morabadi grounds in Ranchi on Friday. (Prashant Mitra)
Curtains came down on Rashtriya Khadi and Saras Mahotsav in the capital on Friday on an optimistic note — that the state may witness enhanced growth in small and medium-sized enterprises.
The closing ceremony gave the state government another occasion to reiterate its commitment to industrialisation of Jharkhand.
While declaring the fair formally closed, chief minister Hemant Soren said that his government would continue to promote small-scale industries across the state to ensure self-employment for artisans and villagers.
“Huge funds are required for setting up big industries but less manpower is required to run them. The case is exactly opposite with small-scale industries i.e. less funds, more manpower,” Hemant said.
The chief minister added that it was a challenge for him “to ensure livelihood for villagers, and more importantly livelihood of their choice.”
Also present in the closing ceremony were finance minister Rajendra Prasad Singh, finance secretary A.P. Singh and chief secretary R.S. Sharma.
Interestingly, although the fair has been formally declared closed, the kiosks will remain open for another day.
Those who have missed out on jazzing up their living rooms with artefacts and other products available in as many as 500 kiosks — from Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bengal, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh — can do so on Saturday.
The decision to give an extended run to the stalls was taken as the 20-day fair attracted lakhs of visitors from Ranchi and adjoining areas.
The mela organised jointly by Khadi and Village Industries Commission under Union ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises and Jharkhand State Khadi Gram Udyog Board had begun on December 22, though Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh formally inaugurated it on December 24.
“We are yet to calculate the exact footfall and the sale proceeds,” said Jharkhand State Khadi Gram Udyog Board chairman Jainandu.
Sources in the khadi board, however, put the unofficial figures at 10 lakh people and a business turnover of around Rs 12 crore.
“Not only the artisans who brought their items for sale but the visitors too who bought those are asking me when will the next mela take place. This proves that the fair was a huge success,” said Jainandu.