Bhubaneswar, Aug 7: Union textile secretary Ravi Capoor Wednesday said that the textile ministry is mulling how to make handloom an international fashion.

Stating that the Odisha weavers have preserved the great and beautiful art of handloom and carved a niche for themselves in the national market, the union secretary said that union textile department will not only preserve this great heritage but also further try to make it a fashion statement in the international market. As a result, he added, the weavers will be able to get 10 times more price on their hard labour.

He said,”We are trying to reduce the middle men in the trade of handloom products. So that the weavers will get a handsome price for their proudcts”.

He was addressing on the occasion of the 5th National Handloom Day celebration, at the SOA University Auditorium in Bhubaneswar,here on Wednesday.

Capoor said : “Only eight to ten countries of the world are enriched in the handloom sector. India certainly has the potential to create a special identity for them in the world arena in this field. For that there is a lot of work to be done in the handloom sector. Odisha weavers are doing a great job in this respect. Government is implementing a number of schemes for the weavers and they should grab these in both their hands. The young generation should be encouraged to stick to this field with a proper marketing strategy in place.”

Two Padma Shri award winners for handloom- Gobardhan Panik, Chaturbhuja Meher and and 12 Sant Kabir award winners- Kalabati Meher, Swarnalata Meher, Sarat Kumar Patra, Bhaktaraj Meher, Bhagaban Meher, Dayalu Meher, Surendra Meher, Shyamasundar Karan, Bhikari Meher, Murali Meher, Khetramohan Meher and Sashidhar Meher were felicitated on this occasion. Fourth All India Handloom Census Report was released by the dignitaries.

Identity cards were presented to five weavers- Jayanti Sahoo, Rajani Patra, T Bharati, Bidyadhar Mahanta and Bhagaban Tanti to mark the launch of distribution of Pehchan Card on PAN India basis.  Nishamani Sahoo, Jayanti Das, Rukuna Das, Mamata Chanda and Soubhagya Pal were presented with Yarn Passbook to mark the launch of distribution of Yarn Passbook on PAN India basis. A documentary film on Weaving Tradition was screened and it mesmerized the audience in the jam-packed auditorium. Mudra loan was distributed to five beneficiaries- Pitambara Meher, Narottam Meher, Prahallad Meher, Bhagabat Meher and Dharani Dhara Meher. Laxmipriya Behera, Saraswati Das, Radhakanta Haripal, Bijay Meher and Karunakar Mahananda were dispersed with Solar Lighting Unit. Handloom enrichment assistance was presented to Sridhar Nath, Laxman Pagal, Giridhar Pagal, Lakshyapati Meher and Bhikari Meher. Certification for construction of work shed was presented to Digambara Meher, Bhubaneswar Meher, Kishor Meher, Judhistira Ketki and Dutiya Meher. A handloom exhibition depicting the rich heritage of the state was organised attracting huge art and craft lovers.

The Odisha minister for textile, Padmini Dian, State textile secretary Sbubha Sharma, and handloom deveopment commissioner, government of India, Sanjay Rastogi also addressed on this occasion.