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Pondy produces handicrafts worth Rs. 6 crores

Special Correspondent

Central scheme covers 1,000 handicraftsmen A major chunk of the products are being exported, particularly to Italy, Germany, France and the United States

Pondicherry: The Union Territory of Pondicherry has about 5,000 handicraftsmen and annually as much as Rs. 6 crores worth of handicrafts are produced here, according to S. Gurumurthy, Assistant Director of Handicrafts attached to the Office of the Development Commissioner of Handicrafts in the Union Textiles Ministry.

He told presspersons here on Friday that a major chunk (around 60 per cent) of the products were being exported, particularly to Italy, Germany, France and the United States.

The Centrally-sponsored Dr. Ambedkar Hastha Shilpa Vikas Yojana implemented in the Union Territory now covered around 1,000 handicraftsmen. It provided benefits such as creation of craft facilitation service centre, marketing of the products and organising craft bazaars so that craftsmen would find it easy to market their products.

Mr. Gurumurthy said those engaged in making handicrafts were identified under a cluster system so that those having their residences or places of work in one contiguous area would be grouped together and so far 17 such groups had been formed in Villianoor block Madagadipet villages.

The handicrafts wing of the Textiles Ministry had evolved schemes to take care of the material requirements of craftsmen in such groups and design and skill development programmers were also taken up for the benefit of the craftsmen.

Mr. Gurumurthy said the Centre had evolved a scheme to enable a craftsman to raise a structure to carry out production activities.

The beneficiary should own a site and a subsidy to the extent of 40 per cent of the total cost of Rs. 25 lakhs for the structure would be available from the government and the beneficiary should invest the remaining 40 per cent.

This structure would enable the master craftsmen to make the products under one roof engaging a certain number of craftsmen.

Scheme

With a view to ensuring that the `narikuravars' stayed in one particular location and carried out their craft making activities the Government had drawn up a scheme to provide infrastructural facilities, which would be a home-cum-production unit centre for these craftsmen.

Such centres would come up in Shanmugapuram and in Madagadipet in Pondicherry.

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