Coming up, Bamboo Craft Training Centre in city

For artisan Laxmi Devi of Cuttack, her traditional bamboo crafts fetched her anything between Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500 a month till a few days back. After undergoing training and capacity-building sessions, today she earns about Rs 3,000 a month.

The State is home to several traditional artisans like Laxmi who have taken up crafts with bamboo for a living. However, with new materials and designs flooding the market, their income has come down drastically. To train such traditional bamboo craftsmen in production, skill development, value addition and treatment of bamboo for better output, the Orissa Bamboo Development Agency (OBDA) has decided to train 500 artisans from across the State this year and 5,000 more by 2013-14. The training would give an opportunity to the craftsmen and help them develop their skill through NGOs or SHGs working in the field.

So far, the Agency has conducted 42 training camps in the last few years for around 2,126 artisans with the help of master craftsmen from North-Eastern states.

As per official records, there are around 60,000 traditional bamboo artisans in the State. The OBDA has identified 9,900 of them to undergo skill development training in the coming years. These artisans are mostly from Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Boudh, Ganjam, Khurda, Mayurbhanj, Balasore and Sundargarh.

To promote the craft, a Bamboo Training and Product Development Centre would soon come up in the city under PPP mode. The government had signed an MoU in this regard with the National Mission on Bamboo Applications (NMBA) last year. Besides, work is on for setting up common facility centres at Mayurbhanj, Khurda, Rayagada and Athagarh. These centres will be provided with high-end machineries through which, the artisans can produce their bamboo charcoal products on a larger-scale. Sources said agreements had been signed for construction of two more such centres at Khurda and Mayurbhanj.

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