Efforts on to revive ethnic ‘wood craft’ in Orissa

November 14th, 2007 - 2:34 am ICT by admin  
Sonepur district is synonymous with handicraft and handloom trade. But, the trade has been vanishing fast due to dwindling profits.

The Maharana families made only select varieties of toys till a year back. This was one of the reasons for the art slipping into extinction. But, when they started experimenting with new designs for the toys, business has started picking up.

Kailash Maharana, an artisian said, “Till a few months back, we had made just two types of toys - horses and elephants. During the last one year, we have learnt to make fifty new types. If we craft more varieties, we will be able to earn more.”

Schools have sprung up to teach the craft to interested artisans, who are provided with modern equipment and machines. As a result, toys in latest shapes are being churned out. This market is growing phenomenally and enriching the artisans.

“We teach them how to make more innovative items. The government has organised a special training programme here. These workers are taught to make fifty to sixty different kinds of toys. Currently there are around 10-15 people learning under this programme and of these, 8-10 have perfected the art,” said Ravinarayan Sutar, a teacher.

Several departments including, Orissa Rural Development and Marketing Society (ORMAS) have been established to help revive this craft.

ORMAS, an autonomous apex body under the Local self government, which aims to facilitate the rural producers for sustaining livelihood through appropriate technology, skill development and marketing linkages, is working actively in promoting this near-extinct craft.

Speaking about the success of this project, Soumendra Choudhury, Chief Executive Officer, ORMAS, said, ” Through a project for revival of this craft people are not only keeping this craft alive, but also getting good returns for these products.”

The government policies coupled with local interest in reviving the dying craft have helped. This will go a long way in providing employment to jobless and uneducated youth.(ANI)

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