Imphal: Union Minister Piyush Goyal has announced that a Mega Handloom Cluster will be set up at Nongpok Kakching of Imphal East district, the native village of Tokyo Olympics Silver Medalist Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, at a cost of Rs. 30 crore to honour her feat that has made the whole country proud.
He also stated that a Handloom Craft Village will also be set up at Moirang as a tribute to the Indian National Army fighters, who hoisted the Indian tricolour for the first time on Indian soil during World War II.
He made these announcements while speaking at the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav function organised by the Ministry of Textiles, Commerce and Industry, Government of India in association with the Department of Textiles, Government of Manipur at City Convention Centre.
Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, Textiles, Commerce and Industry Minister Th. Biswajit Singh, Forest and Environment Minister Awangbow Newmai, MPs Chhaya Verma, Subhash Baheria and Dola Sen, Union Textiles Secretary Upendra Prasad Singh, Chief Secretary Dr. Rajesh Kumar and Secretary (Textiles), Government of Manipur, Michael Achom also attended the function as dignitaries.
Piyush Goyal congratulated the State government for making great strides in the handloom and handicraft sector in the past four and half years. Stating that the country is yet to fully explore Manipur’s handloom and handicraft potential, the Union Minister said that products of the State may have great demands at the global market. In this regard, Piyush Goyal assured that his Ministry would extend all possible assistance in skill development, value addition, packaging, design, brand imaging, etc., if needed.
Stating that the Central Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a strong commitment to developing the North East region, Piyush Goyal suggested the Chief Minister to request the Prime Minister to lay the foundation stone for the Mega Handloom Cluster to be taken up at Nongpok Kakching under National Handloom Development Programme.
In his speech, the Union Minister also mentioned the scenic beauty and rich cultural heritage of the State that has a great potential to attract a large number of tourists. He also mentioned the avenues which can be explored in horticulture, sericulture and other sectors in the State, stating that he wishes to attend the Kachai Lemon Festival someday.
Piyush Goyal also said that the Prime Minister’s campaign for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ had encouraged the people of the whole country to work hard for self-reliance, stating that every Indian should join hands to make the country’s economy self-reliant and make India a world superpower. As such, the people of India need to carry forward the Prime Minister’s slogan, ‘Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, Sabka Prayas’, he said.
Addressing the gathering, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh said that Manipur’s handloom and handicraft products are unique and it has the potential to occupy a special place in the global market. Stating that Manipur has topped the list of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) business registration among the Northeastern States, he also said that Prime Minister Modi had recently congratulated the State through a Twitter post for creating one lakh jobs in the sector.
The Chief Minister also said that it is a matter of great pride that the State has many National awardees in the handloom and handicraft sector. The State Government has also turned no stone unturned in getting GI tag for indigenous motives like Saphee Lanphee.
N. Biren Singh said that womenfolk are working hard in the State and they have contributed immensely in enhancing the State’s economy. He also stated that the rural economy is growing so fast in the State in the past four and half years. To strengthen this improvement further, the Chief said, the State Government is ever ready to help the artisans, weavers, craftsmen and entrepreneurs through StartUp and bank loans. It is them who would largely contribute to making the State’s economy self-reliant, he observed.
Textiles, Commerce and Industries Minister Thongam Biswajit Singh in his speech expressed gratitude to Union Minister of Textiles, Commerce and Industries Shri Piyush Goyal for his support and initiatives in improving the handloom and textile sector in the State.
Highlighting that Manipur has the highest concentration of looms in the entire country, Thongam Biswajit Singh said that Manipur has around 2.11 lakh looms and around 2.12 weavers. He added that while the population of weavers is shrinking in almost every other State in the country, their population is increasing in Manipur.
Biswajit further highlighted several schemes undertaken under the present Government in the State. Deliberating on the Handloom and Handicraft Delivery Scheme, the Minister said that this scheme saves time and enhances the productivity of the weavers. He also highlighted the Mission for Economic Empowerment of Traditional Artisans &Craftsmen (MEETAC), Yarn Pass-book, MANITEX, among others.
He said that under the Loom Up-gradation Scheme, till 2019 altogether around 4465 looms have been distributed. Shri Thongam Biswajit Singh also apprised the Union Minister that the border town of Moreh has today become an important location as it will act as the country’s gate-way to the South Asian countries.
During the function, Piyush Goyal also released a short film titled, ‘Saikhom Mirabai Chanu’ besides launching the 100 Motivation Camps in Handloom and Handicraft. He also handed over a cheque of Rs. 20 lakh to Mirabai’s mother for the film. The Union Minister together with the other dignitaries also distributed tool kits, Pehchan Cards, Yarn Passbooks, looms and Mudra loans to selected weavers and artisans.