West Bengal to find export markets for handicrafts


Kolkata : The West Bengal government is commissioning studies to find out if handicrafts from the state will have a market in the US, Britain and Germany. Several Bengal artisans are also to take part in international exhibitions in Belgium, France and Spain after their successful participation earlier in Milan and Barcelona.

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"To meet the increasing demand of Bengali handicrafts in Europe, the government has submitted three proposals to the textile ministry to conduct market studies in the US, Britain and Germany," G.D. Gautama, principal secretary of the state cottage and small scale industries ministry, told IANS.

The central government has sanctioned about Rs.1 million for market studies in the US and Britain.

The government is planning to promote several traditional products such as terracotta pottery, Baluchari saris, dokra metal handicrafts and bamboo items in foreign markets.

The National Institute of Design (NID) is meanwhile involved in developing a complete design for terracotta products. Over 10,000 families are involved in making terracotta pottery in Bankura district, 180 km from Kolkata.

The central government has also sanctioned funds for providing photo identity cards to West Bengal artisans from the next financial year.

"Besides popularising handicrafts globally, we have decided to set up 'Urban Haat' at Santiniketan, Durgapur, Berhampore, and Siliguri towns of the state," said Gautama.

"(Canada-based business networks solution company) WEBCON is engaged in preparing a detailed project report for the haats," he added. The cost of the project has been estimated at about Rs.30 million.