The Odishan handloom and handicraft which loses out in a competitive market that thrives on finishing, packaging and shipping may have found a saviour in the State Government which has decided to promote the craft by turning itself as a major consumer of the traditional products.
School and Mass Education Department has sought support of all its establishments to institutionalise use of handlooms and handicraft items for all official purposes.
The institutionalisation move is based on a Textiles and Handloom Department resolution which had instructed all public establishments to use handlooms and handicraft products.
In a letter, Secretary Usha Padhee asked all Directors of the School and Mass Education Department to promote adoption of Odishan handloom and handicrafts in what she said, “Daily life needs to be part of State’s ethics.”
“Handloom and handicraft tradition of Odisha is the proud heritage of the State and one of the finest in the country. I want to draw your attention to advise your establishment to use the Odishan handlooms and handicrafts as a matter of policy,” she said in the letter.
Handlooms and handicrafts happen to be the second largest employment generating sector after agriculture in the State and is in dire need for promotion not only among the individuals but also for the institutional buyers.
The handloom industry is considered as the largest cottage industry which provides livelihood to four per cent of the population of Odisha. At least 31 per cent of these families are either SCs or STs.
The department has asked that products including excellent furnishing fabric in Tasar/Cotton, bed-sheet for all offices and house wear be procured from Odisha State Handloom Weavers Cooperative Society, known as Boyanika.
On occasions when gifts are required for guests and dignitaries, preferences must be given to handlooms or handicraft items of qualitative and aesthetic excellence.
Padhee also issued an instruction seeking a ban on plastic folders in department and subordinate offices with immediate effect. “It is observed that most of the government establishments are utilising plastic folders for various meetings and workshops. If we analyse ‘economic cost’ of the use of plastic folders then it is going to be much higher than the handmade folders,” the letter pointed out.
The Directors have also been appealed to impress upon their employees to take up voluntarism in this regard.
The employees can be urged to wear and use hand woven fabrics at least one day in a week and such voluntarism will go a long way in promoting Odisha handlooms, she said. The department has also circulated a CD on handlooms and handicrafts to be shared among the employees.
In case of bulk requirements, indents will have to be placed sufficiently in advance with both Boyanika and Utkalika.