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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 19 June 2024

Asharikandi wants incoming govt to hear its mann ki baat, improve infrastructure

In run-up to 2024 general election, terracotta village was accorded GI tag, further enhancing its reputation and that of its products

Umanand Jaiswal Guwahati/Dhubri Published 09.05.24, 05:58 AM
Mahadev Paul with Chandan Paul (right) at a showroom in Asharikandi village

Mahadev Paul with Chandan Paul (right) at a showroom in Asharikandi village Picture by Umanand Jaiswal

Asharikandi terracotta craft village in lower Assam’s Dhubri village received a lot of traction and business after its exquisite toys got a mention in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s monthly radio programme Mann ki Baat in August 30, 2020.

In the run-up to the 2024 general election, the terracotta village was accorded the Geographical Indication (GI) tag, further enhancing its reputation and that of its products.

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However, the 1.5 km broken road to the village from the national highway 17 or the infrastructure in and around Paul Para, whose 160 households residents are engaged in making terracotta toys, utensils and decorative pieces that are sold within and outside India today, do no justice to the hard-earned reputation of the village or its artisans.

Buyers and tourists are reluctant to make a repeat trip for want of proper infrastructure, villagers told The Telegraph during a trip to the village last week. They want the authorities to ensure the development of the village as a tourism and crafts destination so that the village and its unique skill set remain secure for all times to come.

This is the change they are expecting from the incoming government. They want the authorities to hear their mann ki baat this time round, they said

Over 90 per cent of Asharikandi’s 832 voters exercised their franchise on Tuesday, the third and final phase of polls in Assam. An estimated peaceful turnout of 81.71 per cent was recorded in the final phase. The village falls under the Dhubri Lok Sabha constituency, about 14km east of Dhubri town.

Chandan Paul, a master trainer in terracotta products from the village, said: “We voted for the overall development of our village. We want the incoming government to provide us with proper road connectivity from the national highway, and install solar street lights in the village so that buyers, trainers and visitors can commute without difficulty. We also want at least five proper showrooms and renovation of our workshed because it becomes difficult during the rainy season.”

Paul revealed business has been good and sales increased after the Asharikandi toys featured in the Mann Ki Baat programme nearly four years ago.

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