BHUBANESWAR: Odisha’s silk and cotton khadi will soon adorn spaces at khadi outlets of Karnataka.
The Odisha Khadi and Village Industries Board (OKVIB) has entered into an understanding with its Karnataka counterpart for mutual promotion of khadi products in both the States.
While Odisha excels in silk and tussar, Karnataka leads in cotton khadi items. This will not only be a joint effort to promote khadi but also be the first step in long-term cooperation in terms of knowledge and technology transfer as well as drawing a road map for revival and growth of khadi institutions in Odisha.
“Karnataka is a thriving market for khadi with huge demand for the products. Unlike here, there are hundreds of outlets run by khadi societies which will give huge exposure to our products. On the other hand, we can derive lessons from their khadi enterprises, product manufacturing practices, designing and marketing strategies,” OKVIB president Tejeswar Parida said here on Tuesday.
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi batting for khadi, in fact, turning it into a veritable fashion statement, the hand-woven fabric and textiles have seen a rise in demand recently. However, while States like Karnataka have leveraged their expertise and capacities to cash in on the rising trend, Odisha is slowly waking up to the opportunities in the sector.
There are only around 40 functional khadi societies in the entire State with majority dealing with silk. The few cotton khadi societies are restricted to churning out lungis and gamchas.
There is tremendous potential for cotton khadi units in the State. But the major hindrance is low wages. Khadi workers get a measly Rs 1.25 for spinning a thread hank of 1000 metre against Rs 3 or more in other States like Karnataka.
“We have requested Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for wage revision which has not been done for more than a decade. With estimated potential, khadi societies can be set up in every block as part of entrepreneurship programmes that the Government is pushing for,” Parida said.
The Board has also roped in Bangalore-based Odia fashion designers Sanjat Mishra and Sujit Meher for assisting in design and development of khadi products in Odisha.
It has also taken it upon itself to undertake technological upgradation in existing units by providing modern spinning wheels. It has procured 125 eight-spindle spinning wheels that would be provided to societies in Balikuda, Ganjam, Sonepur and Kanas, Parida added.
With the Budget session of the State Assembly set to commence soon, the Board is eyeing an increase in allocation for revival and development of khadi institutions. While Karnataka allocates Rs 135 crore for khadi, the Board gets less than Rs 10 crore in Odisha.