Assam handloom units upbeat about business at trade fair

November 20th, 2008 - 6:07 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 20 (IANS) Assam’s handloom entrepreneurs are doing brisk business at the annual India International Trade Fair (IITF) here, with one participant already having clinched a Rs.100-million deal on a single day.Fifty-three small industrial units, including self-help groups, four government departments, and public and private sector companies are taking part in this year’s Assam contingent at the IITF from Nov 14-28. Officials are now hoping to exceed last year’s sales.

Guldasta, a Boko-based company which has interests in muga and tussar silk products, clinched the deal with the Maiwa Group of Canada.

“The (Vancouver-based) company has placed an order worth Rs.10 crore (Rs.100 million) for purchase of eri, muga and cotton toss to be supplied in the next five years,” Guldasta proprietor Chandan Keshab said.

He added that the company would also organise a three-day training programme, starting Feb 19, 2009, on natural dye for the workers in Assam.

“Besides this, we have sold muga silk worth Rs.800,000 over the counter,” Keshab said.

According to officials, the handloom and handicraft units have already sold goods worth Rs.1.5 million in retail sales so far, and the business is likely to cross last year’s total of Rs.3.5 million.

However, despite authorities doing their best to facilitate the entrepreneurs, some participants felt that the sales output would have been better had there been no communication gap between them and consumers.

“It takes great effort to explain the technicalities of the product, mainly to foreign buyers,” said Pronab Konwar, an entrepreneur from Assam’s Dibrugarh town.

Officials here said only the best entrepreneurs in the state were selected to showcase their products in the fare.

“The best entrepreneurs from each district are selected for the IIFT through committees set up for the purpose. The candidates are then required to pay a sum of Rs.3,500 towards their participation,” state Additional Director of Industries H. Das said here.

According to him, there are around 29,000 small scale industries in Assam.

Industries Director Nur Mohammad said the state government had adopted pro-industry policies to increase the pace of industrialisation.

“The implementation of a new industrial policy last year and trade promotional activities, have attracted a lot of companies into Assam and many have already set up units.”

“Sai motors, Dunlop, Godrej and Jyoti Laboratories, among others, are to name a few. Besides, a company that produces concrete slabs for railway tracks has already started its work and a paper industry has also expressed its willingness to set up a plant there,” he added.

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