The Indian silk industry in the northeastern region, particularly in Arunachal Pradesh, is all set for a grand revival with the opening of a state-of-the-art “Khadi Eri Silk Training cum Production Centre” in Tawang by Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) on Thursday.
Most types of silk, mainly non-mulberry silks muga, eri and tasar are being cultivated in six northeastern states Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur and Tripura.
Nestled in the snow-clad Himalayan peaks at an altitude of nearly 14,000 feet, the silk training cum production centre was inaugurated by KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena on Thursday in Tawang, a tourist hotspot. The Tawang Buddhist Monastery is the second biggest and oldest in Asia.
The training cum production centre has been set up with assistance of Buddhist Culture Preservation Society, Bomdila, which is providing the training and technical support while KVIC has provided the required infrastructure like handlooms, charkha, silk reeling machines and warping drums.
The centre is providing direct employment to 20 women artisans of Tawang and West Kameng districts. Setting up of the Khadi Silk Centre in Arunachal Pradesh in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of creating sustainable development in the remotest of Indian places and creating livelihood for the locals under Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, the KVIC said in a statement.
This is the second Silk Training cum Production Centre set up by KVIC in Arunachal Pradesh in less than two years.
Earlier in September 2020, the KVIC had set up Eri Silk Training cum Production Centre at Chullyu village in Lower Subansiri district.
The KVIC Chairman after inaugurating the centre said that it is set up to revive the silk industry in the entire northeast which was almost destroyed in the last few decades.
“This facility in Tawang would be a big boost to spinning and weaving activities in the entire region. Training of artisans and supporting the production of Eri silk, which is indigenous to the northeastern states, would create local employment and sustainable development in the region,” Saxena said.
Young designers and professionals of National Institute of Fashion Technology would also provide training to Khadi artisans at this centre to introduce new designs and develop trendier clothing to suit the modern taste of tribal youths,” he said.
For centuries, silk has been intrinsic to the life of people in the northeast but the flooding of low-quality silk in these markets also destroyed the silk industry from the region.
The development assumes significance as the tribal population in Arunachal Pradesh, men and women alike, traditionally wear Eri Silk and Khadi Cotton clothes which carries a deep significance to their egalitarian tribal society. However, the people of the state were forced to buy silk from the markets outside Arunachal Pradesh including those in Assam.
KVIC also aims to connect the centre with the tourists visiting Tawang and thus providing an assured market to the local artisans for their products. The production centre will be equipped to cater to the market demand, the KVIC statement added.