Jharcraft neglect angers judges

Jharkhand High Court today pulled up the government for not looking after the development of cottage industries, particularly Jharcraft, the state handicrafts corporation that is know nationally for its innovation in tussar silk and dokra.

By CHANDRAJIT MUKHERJEE in Ranchi
  • Published 3.12.15
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Ranchi, Dec. 2: Jharkhand High Court today pulled up the government for not looking after the development of cottage industries, particularly Jharcraft, the state handicrafts corporation that is know nationally for its innovation in tussar silk and dokra.

A division bench of Chief Justice Virender Singh and Justice P.P. Bhatt observed that dedicated officials were required to run the state handicrafts emporium, which was a treasure trove of local talents.

The bench questioned additional advocate-general Ajit Kumar on functioning of Jharcraft and said the officer who was on temporary charge wasn't taking interest. Thus, he had to be replaced by a permanent managing director with vision and energy, the judges noted, but did not mention Jharcraft MD A.T. Mishra.

The judges made the observations while hearing a PIL on erratic traffic, encroachment and vehicular pollution in and around Main Road, the city's most prominent shopping zone where Jharcraft has its largest showroom.

Chief Justice Singh said he had visited the showroom and was amazed at the set-up. Though it had three floors, 70 per cent of its shelves were empty. Of the 200 clusters of Jharcraft, only 15 were working while the remaining 185 had been shut down, he said, referring to the manufacturing centres that employed tribal men and women to weave tussar or create dokra and other craft items with jute, cane and other materials.

The government, the bench noted, did nothing to generate employment by stepping up production of handicrafts through Jharcraft.

The bench revealed that the court had often bought items from Jharcraft to be given as mementoes. "Jharcraft handicrafts are very well appreciated... people marvel at the workmanship of tribal artisans," Chief Justice Singh said.

Jharcraft MD A.T. Mishra said he wasn't aware of the court's observation when The Telegraph contacted him, but added they were doing their best to strengthen the organisation. "There were some issues related to payment of wages to craftsmen over a year back, but that has been sorted out. Now, full-fledged production has started in several centres," he said.

On the traffic PIL filed by one Rajneesh Mishra, the bench noted that a solution had to be found to the problem and asked the traffic SP and the deputy commissioner to be present in court on December 16, the date of the next hearing.