May 30, 2016
Trinamool govt’s efforts bring smiles on the faces of sitalpati craftsmen in Cooch Behar
For the 50,000 sitalpati makers living in Cooch Behar’s Natabari Assembly segment, Mamata Banerjee is a messiah.
The Trinamool Government’s efforts helped expand their market and improve living standards.
Now, with local MLA Rabindranath Ghosh appointed as North Bengal Development minister, the handicraft’s artisans are hoping for further boost to their traditional business.
Mr Ghosh told has special plans for sitalpati, or the cool-mats, one of the traditional handicrafts of Bengal that have started finding acceptance in the urban markets over the past few years. I have elaborate plans for the Sitalpati industry. Over the past five years, several hundred families got government loans and training for improving design of the diversified products, he said.
The Mamata Banerjee government has organised rural fairs throughout the year, which have actually helped increase sales.
The two-storied sitalpati market was built at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore. Mr Ghosh helped complete the project on a war footing.
Most of the families engaged in making sitalpati and other diversified products have seen their living standards improve over the past few years because of the increase in sales. Besides, a large number of the craftsmen have been brought under various social security schemes the state government has launched for the craftsmen. While on the one hand, the government had promoted our products through fairs and various government outlets and agencies, the weekly market at Ghughumari has played a key role as well.
The population at more than a dozen of villages within Natabari constituency is entirely dependent on sitalpati and diversified products. Generally, the men slash green canes (muthra reed), locally called Mukta, into thin slices. The women weave the slices. Besides the mats of various sizes, they also make bags of different sizes and designs, shoes, mobile covers, belts and showpieces. “I have elaborate plans for the sitalpati industry. Over the past five years, several hundred families got government loans and training for improving design of the diversified products. I plan to add floors and facilities at the Ghughumari weekly market, besides ensuring their products are made available through various government outlets across the state”, Mr Ghosh told .
Photo Courtesy : HT dated 30.5.2016