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Baluchari silk makes comeback in Bengal thanks to state project

Baluchari silk makes comeback in Bengal thanks to state project

Kolkata: The sale of Baluchari silk has seen a sharp spike in Bengal, after the state government launched the 'Baluchari' project a few years ago, aiming to revive the textile which harks back to the colonial times.

"In collaboration with the West Bengal State Handloom Weavers' Cooperation Society (Tantuja), the Directorate of Textiles had launched the Baluchari project, which has been a major success. The sale of this particular kind of silk has increased on a major scale as we roped in weavers from Bishnupur, who blended some old and new designs, keeping in mind the current trend and demands of the consumers," said Director of Textiles Debasis Ghosh on Wednesday.

Baluchari, a quintessential textile of Bengal, which found a home in Bishnupur of Bankura district after its place of origin Baluchar in Murshidabad, had succumbed to the vagaries of nature. Even in Bishnupur, the design, looms, weaving technique and the thread used underwent drastic change with time, leaving the originality of the textile in shambles. In such a scenario, the Baluchari project has aided its grand revival, with the hike in sales figures.

Ghosh further said: "After the launch of the project, the West Bengal State Handloom Weavers' Cooperation Society eventually undertook its marketing duties and launched an exclusive showroom in Park Street which specialises in Baluchari silk, among others. The annual turn-

over of the showroom has reached crores."

Tantuja procures handloom fabrics from cooperative societies and artisans through 12 procurement centres and two training-cum-production centres. It has 83 sales outlets all over India.

Speaking about the initiative taken by the government to help the farmers in cultivation of silk, the extension officer of the directorate of textiles Partho Pratim said: "There are 59 government sericulture farms in Bengal which cultivate superior-quality seeds. These seeds are then given to the farmers at a subsidised rate, who then produce the raw silk. When the raw silk is sold in the market, the farmers earn good revenue. The weavers who buy the raw silk spin it into sarees, shawls and other garments."

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