Haldwani: The exquisite traditional handicraft designs of hilly region of Uttarakhand may have found international markets, but the traditional art industry is on the verge of extinction. In the absence of proper training facilities and without any help from government, Uttarakhand’s handicraft is dying a slow death. As a result, the craftsmen are struggling to survive.

At Lucknow’s Gandhi Silk Bazar, craftsmen from every corner of the country are displaying their handicrafts but the artisans of Uttarakhand are nowhere to be seen.

Confirming the news, one of the officials of the rank of Development Commissioner for Handicrafts (Central zone), working in Lucknow office, MI Khan said, “This time the Gandhi Silk Bazar organized in Aliganj has registered craftsmen from almost all the states including Kerala, Rajasthan, Orissa and Nagaland displaying their artwork. However, none from Uttarakhand has put up a stall.”

In ancient times, the craftsmen and artisans of Uttarakhand held a significant place in the art of handicrafts. But in the technological world of today when myriad of machine-made artwork is making a style statement, the traditionally talented craftsmen are lagging behind in the race.

Barring the Ambedkar Handicraft Development Scheme, this sector has a dearth of promotional schemes for the craftsmen, forcing them to abandon the trade.

Artisans complain that the government authorities have not paid the much- needed attention, which could ensure their uplift and motivate them to continue this art. Mukesh Dhela, a craftsmen excelling into the art of handicraft says, “The government has not been serious regarding the demands of the craftsmen working in the rough hilly regions. Despite our demands for opening up a corporate training centre since years, the government has failed to provide us with the training centre.”

National award winner artisan Hayat Singh Panchpal of Munsyari claimed, “Majority of the craftsmen have been spinning shawls, woolens and carpets on traditional ‘Bhotiya’ pattern which lacks luster and shine thus failing to attract customers in the market.”

Director,Office of Development Commissioner for handicrafts (Central zone) P K Khullar admitted, “The schemes under which the corporate training centre operational in Kashmir, should be implemented in Uttrakhand as well. The state government must pressurize the Centre for such assistance. The geographical conditions of both the states are almost similar. Until training centres will be opened up in the state to provide adequate training, the craftsmen will keep lacking the modernized skills.”

JPN/Bureau