No match for state’s art and culture: Dr Najma

IMPHAL, 14th Sep: Governor Dr Najma Heptulla launched 150 New Craft Souvenirs of Manipur designed under MEETAC at Darbar Hall, Raj Bhavan here on Saturday.
The launch ceremony of Innovative Crafts Souvenirs of Manipur, Craft Map of Manipur and MEETAC Website was organised by Mission for Economic Empowerment of Traditional Artisans & Craftsmen (MEETAC) in collaboration with National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad.
Addressing the gathering as chief guest, Dr Najma Heptulla asserted that the launch of the ‘Innovative Craft Souvenirs of Manipur’, Craft Map of Manipur and Mission for Economic Empowerment of Traditional Artisans & Craftsmen (MEETAC) Website will help artisans and craftsmen to expand their existing range of products by utilising local resources and skills and it will be instrumental in creating a brand for Manipur and in turn for MEETAC, under whose name the souvenirs would be marketed.
She maintained that there is no match for the rich art and culture of the state but expressed remorse that it is yet to get its due recognition in the global scenario despite setting a bench mark of quality and excellence that is quintessentially Indian. Dr Heptulla stated that the skills of artisans of the state are living symbols of self-reliance and exemplify its heritage of creativity, aesthetics and craftsmanship. As a highly decentralised activity, the handicrafts and handloom industry of the state are shining examples of using local resources and skills, she added.
She observed that the handicraft and handloom sector in the state is un-organised and the market potential of the state’s crafts has not been tapped properly, particularly outside the region in-spite of its importance in the economy. She stated that MEETAC along with its knowledge partners has been working with artisans at the village and cluster level in order to bring diversified and trendy designs which are more acceptable in other states and countries and also by the young generation.
The Governor disclosed that under the expert guidance of NID, Ahmedabad, MEETAC has developed a new chain of craft souvenirs of Manipur and about 150 new souvenir designs of seven traditional crafts have been developed by the artisans from various districts namely Imphal, Senapati, Kamjong, Churachandpur, Tamenglong, Noney, Tengnoupal and Ukhrul.
Stating that the state has developed the craft map of Manipur for the first time in its history, she opined that it is an important step in the direction towards preserving crafts and cultural heritage of the state.
On developing the website, Dr Najma Heptulla stated that the website will be a platform for the local artisans to get up-to-date knowledge about the new market trends and new initiatives of MEETAC for their development.
Textiles, Commerce & Industries minister Th Biswajit Singh, who is also the chairman of MEETAC, stated that even though the state has enough resources, there is lack of initiatives and policies that consequently hinder development of the state.
Lauding the efforts of NID and MEETAC in providing training to the artisans and craftsmen of the state, the minister stated that release of the souvenir would enable the people to get acquainted with skills of artisans and craftsmen from different parts of the state. He asserted that available resources should be utilised in creating products which will have international market. The minister also stated that the launch of the souvenir will create another atmosphere not only in Manipur but also in other parts of the country to acknowledge the skill of the artisans and craftsmen. It will help improve the economy and livelihood of the people, he added.
It may be mentioned here that MEETAC is a new initiative of the state government, established on December 29, 2017 as an autonomous society under the Department of Textiles, Commerce & Industries. MEETAC was formally launched on September 1, 2018 and is making sustained efforts to provide unified access to the traditional artisans of hills and valley of the state for design development of their crafts/arts as per global standards, training and entrepreneurship development in order to increase the market demand of their products and achieve better economic valuation.
Governor Dr Najma Heptulla along with minister Th Biswajit unveiled the craft map and launched the Innovative Craft Souvenir of Manipur and the official website of MEETAC. Certificates were also distributed to the artisans and craftsmen from various districts of the state, who took part in the training and skill development programme organised by MEETAC. Later, the Governor inspected an exhibition showcasing the works of the artisans and craftsmen. The launch ceremony was also attended by Anurag Bajpai, CEO (MEETAC); Bindoo Ranjan, Project Head, NID (Ahmedabad); officials and staff of MEETAC and NID, Ahmedabad; artisans and local craft entrepreneurs.

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