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Thousands throng Hastashilpa Mela

The fair, organised by the state government, aims to boost the business of handicraft makers from rural areas

Kolkata: West Bengal State Handicrafts Fair 2019, popularly known as Hastashilpa Mela, witnessed a surge of footfall on Sunday, a day before its last day.

The fair, inaugurated on November 23, has been organised by the state government to promote the business of handicraft makers mainly from the rural parts of the state.

"This time, it (Hastashilpa Mela) has been organised near gate number 1 of Eco Park and the fair is going to continue till tomorrow (December 23). Most people visited the fair on Sunday. Around 7, 500 handicraft artisans are participating in the fair that is spread over an area of one lakh sq ft. More importantly, the fair is unique for availability of the rare collection of handicrafts, ideal to deck up homes," said S C Panja, additional director of West Bengal State Export Promotion Society under Department of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Textiles, Government of West Bengal. The state government has taken all measures to ensure that the profit goes up further. Hoardings and posters have been put up at different places across the city.

The fair is thrown open for visitors at 1 pm and continues till 8.30 pm every day. It has already become popular and is registering huge footfall on a daily basis. The mela is primarily organised to give a platform to various artisans across Bengal. "The sales revenue for each day varies between Rs 15,000 and Rs 25,000," said an official.

Mousumi Lodh, a handicraft artisan, said: "We are immensely thankful to the state government for allowing us to display our products. It is for the first time we have set up the stall at the mela. There is no charge for setting up the stall at the mela."

Furniture, cane, bamboo, jute, honey, clothes, shoe brush, paintings, home made pickles, leather and terracotta are available in the fair.

"The rush of customers is good. The sale of honey in our stall has increased by 10 percent," said Asit Barman of West Bengal Bee-Keepers' Association stall.

After coming to power, the Mamata Banerjee government laid enormous emphasis on the promotion of traditional handicrafts of the state and started various schemes to economically boost the artisans. "Wares of artisans, shortlisted from the district level handicrafts competition, are on display at Karu Bhasha pavilion at the exhibition," said Anil Singh, an official.

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