80 Sabar artisans to attend state Handicrafts Expo this year
Kolkata: The West Bengal State Handicrafts Expo will witness the participation of as many 80 artisans belonging to the Sabar community, for the first time this year.
The expo, organised by the state MSME and Textiles department, was inaugurated by state MSME and Textile minister Amit Mitra on Wednesday, at a ground near Gate number 1 in Eco Park. The participation of the artisans from the Sabar community assumes significance as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had recently made it clear that no person in the state has been suffering from starvation, after the Opposition had alleged that three people from the community had died due to 'scarcity of food'.
"Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has instructed us to expand the handicrafts fair and to rope in artisans from remote villages to showcase their products. Many artisans from the Sabar community are participating in the fair for the first time," Mitra said in his inaugural speech.
He added that craftsmen from the state have participated in as many as 62 state-level fairs where they have showcased their handicrafts. They were also provided the opportunity to participate in as many as 10 fairs held at the national-level, as well as some international fairs.
Mitra said that the state government has provided artisan card to 1.22 lakh persons, on the basis of which loans of Rs 406 crore have been provided. The banks have allocated a loan of Rs 34 crore to 11,092 artisans.
The minister urged the chambers of commerce who attended the programme, to help the MSME department in setting up a state-of-the-art design centre for more support to the artisans. 22,000 self-help groups are participating in the expo this year, which will be held till January 9.
Swapan Debnath, minister of state for MSME and Textiles department and Alapan Banyopadhyay, state Additional Chief Secretary of MSME and Textiles department, also attended the inaugural programme.