WBKVIB looks to boost popularity of muslin
Kolkata: The West Bengal Khadi & Village Industries Board (WBKVIB) has geared up to make muslin more popular and attractive among people.
"Our weavers are now successfully using Jacquard machines for doing intricate designs on cotton sarees, which is a very difficult process. Cotton sarees with designs are very much in demand, particularly among the celebrities. So, we are hopeful that with the production of more and more such sarees, the demand will grow," a senior official of WBKVIB said.
"Till now, Jacquard machines have only been used for designs on silk sarees and we have found that such designer sarees have been selling like hot cakes in the outlets," he added.
The Jacquard machine is a device fitted to a power loom that simplifies the process of manufacturing textiles with complex patterns like brocade, damask and matelassé. The loom is controlled by a "chain of cards", a number of punched cards laced together into a continuous sequence. Multiple rows of holes are punched on each card, with one complete card corresponding to one row of the design.
"We have set up research and development units with state-of-the-art infrastructure in the districts of Nadia, Murshidabad, Malda and Birbhum, which have already started functioning. We have also come up with a number of common production centres across the state, where facilities from step-by-step production to sale of the fabric can be done. People, particularly foreigners, love to watch the entire process of production on their own and then go for buying," said Mrityunjoy Bandyopadhyay, CEO of WBKVIB.
It may be mentioned that in July 2015, the state MSME department had started Project Muslin for the revival and rejuvenation of brand Khadi and wooing back some of the traditionally skilled artisans, who had left the handloom sector and sought employment in less-skilled sectors.
In Bengal, there are primarily seven districts which can be identified as major pockets of muslin fabric, namely Murshidabad, Birbhum, Nadia, Burdwan, Malda, Hooghly and Paschim Medinipur. There are around 900 to 1,100 families engaged in muslin production.
More importantly, even though muslin is produced in some countries of West Asia, their artisans can hardly go beyond the 200 count. It is only these six districts where yarns of 500 count and more are produced. Such fine yarns are of high demand in the international market, especially in Japan.