West Bengal Khadi & Village Industries Board to develop cotton khadi in state
Kolkata: Buoyed by the success of project Muslin, the West Bengal Khadi and Village Industries Board (WBKVIB) is taking up a project for the development of cotton khadi in Bengal. The project will encompass 14 of the 23 states in Bengal.
"Our main objective is to train artisans in churning out products as per the present market demand. We will provide them with infrastructure and most importantly, create a platform for marketing their products," said Mrityunjoy Bandyopadhyay, CEO of WBKVIB.
The 14 districts that have been earmarked for the project are Birbhum, Malda, Murshidabad, Hooghly, East and West Burdwan, South 24-Parganas, North 24-Parganas, Howrah, West Midnapore, East Midnapore, Nadia, South Dinajpur and North Dinajpur. Around 4,950 artisans will get the training and the project cost will be to the tune of Rs 16.52 crore.
It may be mentioned that there are about 115 Khadi institutions and societies working in the area of cotton khadi production in Bengal at present.
The artisans are now mostly producing traditional items of white khadi and conventional items of cotton khadi. "At present, there is a huge demand for cotton khadi, both in domestic and international markets, mainly due to its eco-friendly nature. We will assist them in integrating modern design, equip them in order to cater to the demands and bridge the gap between supply and demand." a senior official of WBKVIB said.
Hand-spun and hand woven cotton khadi fabric bear a unique feeling and make consumers very comfortable as the fabric feels warm during winters and cool during summers.
According to a senior official of WBKVIB, some of the challenges that are affecting the sector include: stiff competition with power loom products as the cost of production in khadi sector is high.
"We will take adequate steps to overcome the challenges, such as lack of storage facility, lack of quality control and testing facility, absence of branding etc," the official maintained.
It may be mentioned that production of khadi played an important role in the Indian Freedom Movement to discourage the Indians from wearing foreign clothes.