Millennium Post

Project to revive Kalimpong Craft doubles up as livelihood source for residents

Kolkata: The project by the West Bengal Khadi and Village Industries Board to revive the handicrafts here popularly known as Kalimpong Craft in the Hill has been contributing in the development of the livelihood of the people.

Senior officials of the Khadi and village industries board recently visited Kalimpong to make an detailed study on the ongoing projects initiated by them.

The popularity of the Kalimpong Crafts has been waning, thanks to the neglect of the previous board of the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) in the Darjeeling Hills. However, with the setting up of arts and handicraft development centres at places such as Kurseong, Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Sipaidhura, Sukhia Pokri and some other places to provide a platform for these craftsmen in marketing their products in a better way has started yielding good results.

Counters have been set up beside these Centres for display and sale of their products. 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 60 knots to a square inch.

"A number of people associated with these crafts had shifted to other places and took up other vocations. We had wooed them to return to their area of expertise and accordingly groomed them to take up work at these AHDC's," a senior official of WBKVIB said.

The handicrafts of the Hills are quite different from the crafts existing in the rest of Bengal and it expresses cultural heritage of Buddhism prevailing in the eastern Himalayas. Traditional hill craftsmen prepare the sculptural model of bronze figure using direct wax for each bronze figure. They are also skilled at making beautiful cane baskets of various designs and shapes which have multiple uses.

A number of people in Kalimpong who were involved in collection and sale of honey has been trained with the modern techniques of apiculture. They have been provided with modified boxes which are capable of storing more honey after dismantling a hive. "We have tied up with the local horticulture society who are helping the locals to uplift their livelihood," the official added.

Training has been provided to around 500 people and WBKVIB has a target to train more than 1200 people.

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