Kendrapara: Union Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Pratap Sarangi’s announcement for 15 clusters of coir handicraft shops to be opened in Odisha through the scheme ‘Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI) augurs well for the artisans in the state.
The women involved in making coir products through self help groups (SHGs) are confident about their bright future. They said these clusters would go a long way in improving the financial condition of the artisans.
It should be stated here that the minister announced Saturday the formation of these clusters through video conferencing. The clusters will come up at Konark, Puri, Berhampur, Balasore and Kendrapara.
Pratap Sarangi had earlier said that Rs 2.5 crore would be spent for these proposed clusters. Later in phases each cluster will get Rs 10 crore for their sustenance.
The announcement has given a new lease of life to over 500 coir artisans living in villages like Akulipada, Pimpudi, Aitipada, Pallisahada, Shasan, Tarasha, Sialia in Kendrapara district. Here coir products have been the prime source of earning, for most.
The artisans in Kendrapara are hopeful that the opening of the clusters will not just help them in improving their skills but also in creating a good market for their finished products.
“The cluster will add value to our final products and they can be at par in look and design with the ones produced by our counterparts in states like Kerala. We can also develop an international market then,” observed the secretary of Bayababa Mahila Kata Samabaya Samiti, Srimati Nayak.
According to Srimati, unlike plastic items, the coir products are environment friendly, decorative and durable. “Coir items are much more environment friendly than plastic. So it is definitely a better option between the two. It is good that steps are being taken to encourage the manufacture of coir products,” said Srimati.
“We have been manufacturing mats, handheld fans, baskets, wall hangings, flower vases, carpets and many more items. But we are failing to get profits like our counterparts do in other states. With the opening of clusters, this problem will be solved because we can get better marketing linkages and help increase our financial condition,” added Srimati.
District Industries Centre, manager, Santosh Kumar Mishra is equally happy at the development. “This scheme will function under the District Industries Centre (DIC). We have Bhitarakanika National Park in our district. Every year, thousands of visitors from India and abroad, visit the park. The coir products can be made to available to them. It can make a huge difference to the living standards of the coir artisans,” Mishra observed. He also said that steps would be taken to sell coir products online.
Mishra also informed that the DIC has already trained 90 artisans from Nantar and Paripangara areas to make decorative coir products. In future the cluster will also play a vital role in women empowerment, he observed.