Mamata inaugurates State Handicrafts Expo
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday inaugurated the West Bengal State Handicrafts Expo 2012-13, at the Milan Mela Complex here.
Rural Development and Panchayats Minister Subrata Mukherjee, Youth and Welfare and Housing Minister Arup Biswas, former Railway Minister Mukul Roy were also present among others.
Speaking at the inauguration, Banerjee said,"We invite more and more investors to invest in this sector so that the market for the artisans increases."
She urged the investors to not only look for big ticket investments but to take up the already manufactured works of these people simultaneously and hinted on export possibilities as well.
The initiative of the Department of Micro and Small Scale Enterprises and Textiles, Government of West Bengal, is organized every year with the aim to provide the artisans an exposure to the urban markets, know their taste and interact with the buyers or exporters directly, so that they can get orders for their products all throughout the year.
The CM also declared the opening of a world market for cottage and village crafts, 'Big Bazar' on Dec 28, near Shantiniketan in Bolpur, that attracts tourists from all across the world.
Not limiting herself to the 'Big Bazar' project, she has also announced an upcoming project at Rajarhat, in Kolkata, called 'Eco-Tourism Park, which will be set across a spread of 480 acres of land.
The artisans in the Expo are provided with an allowance of Rs.75 per day while the senior citizen craftsmen are awarded Rs.750 per month by the state government, informed Banerjee.
The CM also advised the unemployed section to form co-operative of handicraft business.
Extending her concern and support to the rural people, Banerjee announced pump sets to about 30,000 farmers, subsidy in electricity and urged investors to increase cold storage facilities.
Participants from Medinipur, Kooch Bihar, Siliguri, Hooghly, Darjeeling, Digha, Murshidabad, Matla, Baruipur, Bardhaman, Jangalmahal, and North 24 Parganas among others, will display their art of jute,mat, cane furniture, 'Chhau' culture, Madhubani paintings, terracotta, wooden and coconut shell artifacts as well as other home decors, till Dec 14.
Stall owner and Chhau dance scholarship winner, Tarakanath Shatrudhar, said: "We borrow money but we don't have enough to pay. This government has done a lot for us in the Jangalmahal by setting up a poly-technique college, a university and BPL card for all, but we want market to sell the products."
"Even the per day allowance is not enough for us and we have to buy food on our own, although we are provided T.A. (travel allowances)," he added.
The Expo spreads over an area of 82,000 sq. ft. and has incurred a total sales of Rs.859.00 lakh in the year 2010-11 and Rs.1076.63 lakh in 2011-12, informed official.
The event also witnessed Banerjee releasing the book called 'Vivekananda for You', edited by the Managing Director of Techno India Group Satyam Roychowdhury. --IBNS