Jharkhand Mati Kala Board, formed by the state government in May last year, is setting up four clay art kiosks in the capital to promote pottery for the first time during Diwali and Chhath.
Industry secretary Vinay Kumar Choubey inaugurated the first stall on the premises of Udyog Bhavan on Ratu Road on Thursday evening.
The other three kiosks will come up by Friday at Netaji Subhas Park near the district collectorate, Sri Krishna Park in Doranda and at Birsa Chowk.
According to Mati Kala Board chairman Srichand Prajapati, there are around 30,000 families in the state belonging to the Kumhar caste. These families are traditionally involved in the art of pottery.
“The four stalls will accommodate around 50 potters who can sell their wares till November 13. We also have some future marketing plans. People must visit these stalls. Earthen lamps and cookware, terracotta items and more will be available. We promise competitive pricing,” Prajapati said, adding that the board was keen on reviving the dying art.
Under the Mati Kala scheme, the government in 2017 sanctioned Rs 5 crore to promote pottery. Under the scheme, 100 potters were expected to attend special workshops. Also, one master trainer for all five divisions of Jharkhand was supposed to be appointed.
Prajapati conceded that the ambitious plans were yet to materialise. “This (the board) is a new set-up. We need time to arrange infrastructure. We will grow on our own. The pottery stalls is our baby step. We will expand activities in coming days,” he said.
Industry secretary Choubey said the board had empanelled a voluntary organisation based in Bundu. “The NGO will train potters. In each division, programmes will be held for local potters. These will begin in the next two months. We are also planning to gift potters electric wheels,” he added.
Manoj Prajapati, a potter from Ratu Road, welcomed the marketing support.
“People of my community are slowly giving up pottery because it is not easy to make a livelihood out of the art anymore. We used to make some good money during Diwali and Chhath. But, diyas are being replaced by Chinese lights. In such a situation, the Mati Kala kiosks will be very helpful. More such stalls should be set up,” Manoj said.
Ashok Prajapati, another potter in Old Ranchi, said his family made idols of Lakshmi and Ganesh. “But, we rarely get good price for them. The right kind of clay is expensive, but pottery is a dying industry that never had government support until now. The state should consider facilitating loans to potters to revive the art,” he said.
Potter Raju Kumhar, who runs a stall near the district collectorate, added that the municipal corporation should also provide them permanent space at the upcoming vendor markets.