Centre of excellence for sal products to come up in Jangalmahal
Kolkata, July 12 (KNN) Willing to make use of traditional handicrafts to conserve the forests of Jangalmahal, the West Bengal Khadi and Village Industries Board (WBKVIB), under the Department of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), is setting up a centre of excellence for manufacturing, providing training for making, and researching on, products from sal leaves, including cups and plates.
The Jangalmahal region has huge forests of sal trees, and this centre would help in the protecting of these forests by making the earning of a sustainable livelihood from them a viable option.
The centre is to be located in Jhargram. The decision was taken by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the first administrative review meeting, held in Jhargram, post her massive victory in the Assembly election, All IndiaTrinamool Congress said in a release.
A lot of individuals and self-help groups in Jhargram, Nayagram, Gopiballavpur, Sankrail, Binpur, Lalgarh and other places are already engaged in making things out of sal leaves for a living.
Just in Jhargram, 8,000 self-help groups (SHG) and 39 units under WBKVIB, all manned by Adivasi and other disadvantaged groups, produce sal products.
The idea behind this centre is to encourage more people to engage in this eco-friendly activity, through training and through finding out more innovative uses through research for the leaves, said AITC.
The products being made from sal leaves now include plates, cups and bowls, and a type of raincoat, called ‘pekho’ locally. Earlier such products were made by attaching the leaves with small sticks. Now the leaves are stitched (in the case of plates) and moulded (in the cases of bowls and glasses) in machines.