Angul: This industrially rich district is increasingly earning acclaim for its handicrafts clusters across the district.
Be it bamboo, or terracotta or even brass and bell metal crafts produced by the craftsmen here, the craftsmen and their crafts always give a befitting competition to other states’ crafts at any national or state-level fairs or exhibitions.
Recognizing this, the district industries centre, Angul, has recently taken up several projects into its hand to add some value and produce more craftsmen.
Over 1200 families residing in Angul, Kishorenagar and Chhendipada blocks are presently engaged in making bamboo crafts. Their products like flower vase, mobile stand, flower baskets, toys and other decorative and home need articles are always in high demand in fairs and exhibitions.
Similarly, the district’s terracotta items are in no way inferior to the ones prepared by craftsmen in other states. There are over 80 families living in Angul, Banarpal and Chhendipada blocks are earning their livelihood from selling these products all the year round.
All these apart, the brass and bell metal crafts by some craftsmen in Tubey village have also their takers in all the state and national level exhibitions. About 150 families have now become self-reliant by manufacturing and selling varieties of decorative items, idols and other home need articles.
In view of the people’s growing interest in handicrafts, the district industries centre (DIC) has recently introduced pattachitra and stone carving to the people.
Pattachitra training is being imparted to interested learners at Talcher and so far, 15 such learners have been trained. In the second batch, another 15 learners are receiving training. However, the training has been suspended for the time being due to coronavirus restrictions.
Similarly, 15 persons have been enrolled themselves for learning stone carving. They are receiving training at the camp opened at Banarpal.
Welcoming the move taken up by the DIC, a pattachitra artist, Bijay Kumar Mohapatra of Talcher said he has received training on pattachitra from Bhubaneswar. Now for the first time, pattachitra training has been introduced in our district. It will help immensely those artists who want to make a future out of it.
According to Bijay Behera, a terracotta artist of Banarpal area, the terracotta articles are doing well in fairs and exhibitions not only out of district but out of state as well. Now, we are not able to sell even a single item due to prevailing coronavirus pandemic. Yet we are not sitting idle. We are going on with our research and manufacture, hoping the dark clouds would soon disappear.
The people of the district feel proud of their products. “When we find our district’s products are doing well in fairs like Angul district festival or Gramodyag haat or such ones outside the district and state, we feel proud of our artisans. What they required is only their advertisement. If steps for advertising their products are taken, their earning will definitely go up,” observed Pratap Mohaptra, a resident of Angul town.
When contacted, Gagan Bihari Nayak, general manager, DIC, Angul, said as the demand for the crafts of Angul district is increasing the artisans are earning something between Rs 15,000 and 20,000 a month.
Even the semi-skilled ones are earning from Rs2, 500 to 3,000 a month. The business of these crafts at fairs and exhibitions put up every year touches whopping Rs 18lakh to 20lakh. This is the reason why more and more youths are showing interest to learn the skill of these handicrafts, he added.