Imphal: On the last day of ‘Mai-Own 2021’ the exhibition of world-ready products from all corners of Manipur at Hapta Kangjeibung, Imphal, many visitors thronged the exhibition stalls. The 7-day long exhibition is being held as part of the celebration of the present Government successfully completing 4 years of governance.
Popular amongst the visitors are the stalls displaying various artefacts of different tribal communities of the state. DIPR team visited stall No. 100 ‘Rural Consultancy and Assistance Centre’ (RC & AC) of Churachandpur district which has been attracting numerous visitors who are interested in Tribal Craft and other handloom products.
Speaking to DIPR, stall owner and promoter of the agency Chawngneilien said that he started his small firm in 2015 and through hard work and perseverance made progress with just three assistants working under him. The primary objective behind his work is to promote a sustainable socio-economic development for the underprivileged by providing them training and work placement. The aim is to guide and provide assistance and to inculcate the idea of self-reliance to educated unemployed youths who are struggling to earn a livelihood, he added.
The agency currently employs 21 youths who are working at his shop and an additional 96 employees work from home and the agency provides them either raw-material or give financial assistance of Rs 5000/- upto Rs 20,000/-.
RC & AC produce different products and design made out of Bamboo and cane, woods, customized handloom, loin loom products, and water reeds\hyacinth\kauna from decorative products to household items. Loin loom and handloom products are made into bags, waistcoats, tunics, neckties, cushion covers and other household goods. The agency also provides guidance in producing and arranges marketing facilities to other traditional weavers of the district. They also provide micro-financial assistance to registered handloom and handicraft artisans with zero-interest for their capital expenditure, he added.
About market linkages, he said that he has linked up with local market including other districts, also with North East Handloom & Handicraft Development Corporation (NEHHDC) and Manipur Handloom & Handicrafts Development Corporation (MHHDC). They receive inquiries from Companies and individuals from other States of the country and abroad. At present the agency exports to Mizoram, Nagaland and metropolitan cities of India.
The agency also exports its products abroad to countries like UK, Turkey, Mexico, France, Denmark through other export Company based in Delhi as RC &AC is not registered under the Import-Export Authority of India. The products are also brought directly by a small business firm based in the United States of America. Though the market response is satisfactory, the production is not able to meet the required demand due to an unorganized work environment, absence of proper work-shed, proper training, skill development and absence of modern machinery.
If the government provides help in setting up proper work shed, godown, working capital, small machines, certification support, skill training and accreditation with proper care, the Manipuri Tribal Handlooms and Handicrafts products will reach every corner of the country and abroad which will not only help in providing a source of income for the youths but will also help in preserving and promoting the traditional artifacts of different tribal communities of the State. This will be a great initiative for a Manipuri Tribal Development and Tourist Trademark and can make its presence in the International Craft Map too, he added .