The Odisha State Sericulture Research and Training Institute (OSSR & TI) in Bhubaneswar will finally see the light of the day, albeit after a delay of two years. Such an institute had become a necessity in the State for proper management and growth of the sector. Even as other silk-producing states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have similar institutes that use state-of-the-art technologies for enhancing the productivity, quantity and quality in silk sector, Odisha was yet to have one.
This week, the Department of Handlooms, Textile & Handlooms formed a 10-member core committee for finalisation of the plan and estimate for construction of the OSSR & TI.
The committee includes members of the department and officials of Central Silk Board, Institute of Life Sciences and Institute of Mineral & Materials Technology, Bhubaneswar.
Sources in the department said the proposed OSSR & TI would be set up at an estimated cost of Rs 6.16 crore and it will come up near SERIFED campus at Mancheswar here.
Stating that provision of Rs 3 crore has been made in the 2012-13 budget, officials of the department said construction work for the project would start soon and would be completed within three years.
Even as the decision to set up the institute was announced in 2010 by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the project was reportedly delayed due to non-availability of clearance by the Finance department.
At present, the Department of Handlooms, Textile & Handlooms has a sericulture research institute in Baripada and a training centre at Lanjiguda, Koraput.
The decision to set up this institute comes in the wake of the State aiming at producing 500 tonnes of silk by 2020.
While 30,000 silk weavers in the State, mostly belonging to ST and SC categories, need 500 tonnes of silk, Odisha produces only 100 tonnes. The need is to strengthen the sector to fill the gap.
Of the four types of silk produced in the country __ Mulberry, Tassar, Eri and Muga __ Odisha produces the first three varieties. At present, around 12,000 hectares of land in the State are under sericulture farming. It provides self-employment to many people in Cuttack, Keonjhar, Rayagada, Mayurbhanj, Sundargarh, Kandhamal, Jajpur, Deogarh, Koraput, Gajapati, Kalahandi, Dhenkanal and Nabarangpur districts.