The Odisha government today asked the Centre to sanction a project under Comprehensive Handloom Cluster Development Scheme (CHCDS) for the welfare of traditional weavers in western region of the state. “I propose that Government of India may sanction a project under CHCDS covering 25,000 looms as a Mega Cluster Development Project for implementation in Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Sundargarh, Bolangir, Sonepur and Boudh districts,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in a letter to Anand Sharma, Union Commerce and Industry Minister.
Stating that these seven districts form a geographic cluster with 25,051 looms, Patnaik said the weavers of this area were highly skilled in weaving Ikat and Bomkai fabrics. “The proposed project aimed at improving the infrastructure facilities, better storage facilities, technology upgradation in pre-loom/ on-loom/ post-loom operations, weaving sheds, skill up-gradation,” Patnaik said.
The chief minister said that though the Cluster Development Programme under Integrated Handloom Development Scheme are under implementation in two clusters and 35 mini-clusters respectively in the state, much need to be done for a holistic development of this sector. “To overcome the bottlenecks and to enable institutional development, it would be essential to intervene in a bigger, systematic manner,” he said.