The Textiles Department will soon submit a detailed project proposal for a mega handloom cluster in Bargarh to the Union Government.
The cluster will include districts of Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Sundargarh, Balangir, Sonepur and Boudh which collectively have around 25,000 looms. Weavers of these areas are highly skilled in weaving Ikat and Bomkai fabrics.
In July, the Centre had stated that it would consider the Odisha Government’s proposal for establishment of a mega handloom cluster after receiving a detailed proposal on it. An official intimation in this regard was received by the department this week.
Earlier this year, though the then Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had announced the mega cluster proposal in his budget speech to benefit weavers across the country, Odisha was excluded. Following this, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had urged Union Textiles Minister Anand Sharma to sanction Mega Cluster Development Project under the Comprehensive Handloom Cluster Development Scheme (CHCDS).
Giving details of the CHCDS, officials of the Textiles Department said the scheme, fully funded by the Centre, would help weavers in all ways - right from procurement of raw materials to realising better price for the goods produced by them. The scheme would help them by way of technology upgradation, product diversification, raw material bank, credit, market development, corpus fund for yarn procurement and supply of dyes and chemicals, besides several other benefits. “The State has 43,652 looms as per the last Handloom Census, conducted during 2009-10,” a higher official of the department said.
Currently, the Centre is implementing Cluster Development Programme under the Integrated Handloom Cluster Development Programme and Integrated Handloom Development Scheme in two clusters and 35 mini clusters respectively in State. “Despite this, holistic development of the sector has remained a problem in the absence of facilities and infrastructure for weavers,” the official added.