DHENKANAL: The district administration’s dream project of setting up a craft village in Sadeibereni, which is well known for its dokra craft, has been facing a string of challenges. Conflict among the members of artisan federation and influence of middlemen have posed major hurdles for executing the project near Saptasajya in the district.
Three months back, the State Government had released Rs 2.5 crore of the sanctioned budget of Rs 5.2 crore for the project. It is proposed to set up the craft village in 12 acres in Sadeibereni having two components - infrastructure and skill development of artisans.
It envisages an open air auditorium, tourist amenities, craft demonstration and sale counters on the infrastructure front apart from training and skill development of artisans. Though an action plan has already been approved, the project is yet to pick up pace.
An artisan, Dushasana Behera, alleged that a local NGO, which is engaged in providing craft raw materials, has been exploiting the artisans since long.
The volunteer organisation procures dokra craft products from the artisans at low price and exports those at exorbitant price making huge profits, he added.
Artisan Golap Gadatiya said representatives of the NGO have divided the members of federation into two groups for deliberately delaying the project. If the project comes up, all the middlemen including the NGOs involved in marketing of the products would be deprived of their share.
The district administration should curtail the influence of middlemen and start work on the project immediately for benefit of traditional artisans, Gadatiya suggested.
Social activists said artisans’ socio-economic condition in the village is not improving due to drug and alcohol addictions.
The administration should set up a drug de-addiction and counselling centre in the village for welfare of the community, they added.
When contacted, District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) Project Director Madhusudan Mishra said implementation process of the project has already been started and efforts are underway to resolve the conflict in the village.