Khadi Samiti members at a training-cum-stakeholder's meeting under the NIFT Patna-Bihar Khadi Project. Telegraph picture
The Bihar State Khadi and Village Industries Board is aiming big.
It is ready to launch 50 new apparel designs - from trousers to jackets, from loungewear to shirts and from salwar suits to tops - to appeal to the youth and other customers.
The designs are courtesy National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) Patna and a team of its experts are training khadi workers, especially tailors, to start the production cycle, which aims to tap the summer garments market.
A senior khadi board official said: "The NIFT-Patna experts' training programme for our personnel is almost over. We will enter mass production of 50 apparel designs shortly and hit the market soon after. Khadi clothes somehow got associated with select sections of the society such as politicians, people residing in rural areas and those above 40 or 45 years of age. We expect the new apparel designs to change the perception."
NIFT-Patna director Sanjay Shrivastava said experts from his institute were training people from 84 khadi and village industries committees under the khadi board.
The designs have been created as part of an MoU signed between the khadi board, which comes under the department of industries and NIFT-Patna in November 2015 for development of khadi industry in Bihar with an objective to formulate an action for it in terms of product finishing, packaging and branding.
Sanjay said the entire project aims at giving a fresh look to Bihar khadi and developing it commercially with focus on styling, fitting, stitching and better quality.
"The quality of khadi in Bihar is among the best in the country. It could give a run for money to the finest cloth produced by handloom or bigger brands. But when it comes to apparels, the khadi industry in Bihar could not provide proper shape, size, stitching and design. Our training focuses on these to attract the younger generation," Sanjay added.
NIFT-Patna will assist the khadi industry for three years and is developing 50 more designs, including mufflers, scarves, sweaters and coats among other things, for the 2017 winter market.
"Our intention is to provide good quality clothes to consumers and better remuneration to khadi workers. Bihar has very high potential, which is reflected in numerous government and private khadi shops running across the state. We want the industry to be so viable that the next generation of khadi weavers stays in the business without migrating to other professions," said the NIFT-Patna director.
The industries department, under the guidance of its principal secretary S. Siddharth, has already developed a special logo for Bihar khadi and bar coding of all products.
The khadi board is getting a new building in Patna at a cost of Rs 17 crore, while its main showroom located on the eastern side of Gandhi Maidan will be renovated at Rs 7 crore.