Dhenkanal: A crafts village project which was constructed in August, 2019 at a cost of around Rs 5 crore at Nabajibanpur of Sadeibereni under Saptasajya panchayat in Dhenkanal will be functional soon, an official informed Thursday.
The administration has plans to organise ‘Dhenkanal Mahotsav’ in its premises to promote dokra craftsmen in the district at national level. Process for the upcoming Mahotsav has already started.
According to a source, the crafts village was built under rural tourism scheme for dokra artisans in the district to promote the art-form as well as to support their livelihoods. Saptasajya panchayat is well-known in Odisha and outside for the craft.
Management of the crafts village will be handed over to a self-help group (SHG). Skilled artisans of dokra from and outside the district will be brought and engaged in the crafts village for the training of local artisans, the source further said.
Also read: Country’s highest forest fires in Odisha
Saptasajya is also otherwise popular across the state as a destination of nature-tourism. During the days of erstwhile Dhenkanal Collector Roopa Roshan Sahoo in FY 2016-17, the total fund of Rs 5 crore was sanctioned by the government in two phases of Rs 3 crore and Rs 2 crore, the source added.
Present Dhenkanal Collector Saroj Kumar Sethi recently reviewed the available infrastructure and accordingly took the decision in favour.
The district level event will be organised towards the last week of April or first week of May this year. As many as 27 temporary stalls will be erected for sale and display of the dokra items.
‘Dhenkanal Mahotsav’ was previously being organised to promote art and culture of the district, which was discontinued since 2016.
On being contacted, the Collector Sethi said, “We are giving priority to the promotion of tourism in Dhenkanal district. Hundreds of tourists throng the popular destinations like Kapilash, Saptasajya and Joranda, every year. Keeping this in mind the crafts village was built at Nabajibanpur of Sadeibereni under Saptasajya panchayat.”
Facilities for temporary accommodation and fooding of the tourists during Mahotsav will be made at the crafts village. However, efforts are on to provide hotel accommodation as well, Sethi added.
It is pertinent to mention here that although the construction work was completed more than two and half years ago, it was not commissioned due to administrative apathy, many artisans had alleged.
Dhenkanal tourism department and ORMAS had been blaming each other for which the ambitious project eluded the artisans.
Nabajibanpur of Sadeibereni has earned fame across the world for its exquisite designs of dokra work. Nearly 120 craftsmen are involved in the art-form, which has allegedly been facing extinction.
The crafts village consists of a large hall meant for sale, display and production of dokra works by the local artisans. In addition, it has a conference hall and a resting room for tourists. After completion, the village was handed over to Saptasajya panchayat authorities.
When the panchayat body disagreed for annual maintenance, the charge was subsequently given to ORMAS. Due to lack of adequate fund, ORMAS was not able to upkeep the crafts village properly.