In a unique step to increase production of khadi in the districts where it is lagging behind at present, the state government is encouraging taant weavers to weave khadi side by side to augment their income.
At present muslin khadi industry has thrived in Mushidabad, Malda, Nadia and Burdwan districts. It has become a means of livelihood for thousands of people in the districts. The West Bengal Khadi and Village Industries Board had also taken several programmes to support the people, mainly women, involved in khadi production. Besides the four districts, programmes were also taken in parts of Bankura, Hooghly and Purulia. But there are many places in the rural part of the state where people are involved with weaving of clothes. Recently, the state government has identified Udaynarayanpur in Howrah as a prospective area to develop khadi industry.
According to an official in the district, the area has been identified as a prospective zone because there around 6,200 families are involved with weaving of taant. They are well accustomed with the mechanism of the weaving of clothes and the industry. Thus, it will be quite easy to develop the area as a new good khadi producing zone by providing training to the taant weavers in the area.
“Basically the families who are involved with taant weaving in Udaynaraynpur produce dhotis and sarees. They had been doing the same for decades. Generations after generations are carrying forward their tradition, but the erstwhile Left Front government had never taken any step to help them by marketing their products. They need to travel to Dhaniakhali in Hooghly to sell their produce,” said the local MLA Samir Panja. He further said that after the change of the guard in the state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had taken initiative to set up a taant haat at a cost of Rs 7 crore in the area. The construction work of the taant haat will complete soon and it will help the weavers get a better platform to market their produce.
“Side by side some weavers from the area were selected and given training to produce khadi. Around 260 machines to weave khadi were distributed among them,” said Panja adding that it will help the weavers to earn more which was quite essential for them to continue with their tradition of weaving taant.
It was the failure of the erstwhile Left Front government to create a local market for the weavers in Howrah district though the quality of taant weaved by them is inferior in quality compared to other well known taant producing areas in the state.
It may be mentioned that at present 8,000 women are involved in the khadi industry in the state and in 2011-12 fiscal khadi worth around Rs 2,817 crores was produced that had resulted to an employment generation of 36,369.