Kolkata: West Bengal Khadi and Village Industries Board (WBKVIB) has taken up a project to revive the handicrafts, popularly known as Kalimpong Crafts in the Hills.
The Kalimpong Crafts have been waning, thanks to the neglect of the previous board of the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) in the Darjeeling Hills.
"We are setting up Arts and Handicraft Development Centres (HDC) at places like Kurseong, Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Sipaidhura, Sukhia Pokri and some other places to provide a platform for these craftsmen in marketing their products in a much better way. Counters will be set up beside these Centres for display and sale of their products," a senior official of WBKVIB said.
It may be mentioned that Kalimpong is famous for weaving of Tibetan woolen carpets. The wool for the same is spun by the Tibetan women of Darjeeling on the traditional spinning wheels known as Chassba.
Generally, bold colours and geometric patterns are used. The most common of all carpets is the 'dun', a small bedside carpet which has up to sixty knots to a square inch.
"A number of people associated with these crafts have shifted to other places and have taken up other vocations. We will woo them to return to their area of expertise and accordingly, groom them to take up work at these HDC's," the official added.
The handicrafts of the Hills are quite different from the crafts existing in the rest of Bengal and they express the cultural heritage of Buddhism prevailing in the eastern Himalayas. Traditional Hill craftsmen prepare the sculptural model of bronze figures using wax for each bronze figure. They are also skilled at making beautiful cane baskets of various designs and shapes, which have multiple uses.
Top officials of state MSME department, accompanied by officials of WBKVIB, have chalked out an elaborate plan of rolling out the project during the first Hill Business Summit in the middle of March. A fund of Rs 2.8 crore has already been earmarked for this.