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The economy of villages in the Himalayan region will be strengthened by promoting local crafts and finding a market for them, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said today.
"The state government will promote produce of local farmers and provide markets for them. We are keen to stop migration from higher Himalayan villages and will try to mitigate it by promoting local crafts from these valleys.
"We have plans to make the economy of villages in the high Himalayan region strong enough to stop migration," he said after inaugurating the week-long wool fair at Jauljibi near the India-Nepal border here.
Terming the fair as a "goodwill gesture" between India, Nepal and China, Rawat said, "We hope that more and more goods are exchanged between the South Asian neighbours".
The traditional Jauljibi fair is also known as 'tri-nation fair' as goods produced in India, Nepal and Tibet are exhibited and sold at the event.
"This year there are 40 stalls by government offices which is double the number put up by them last year. We have invited State Industrial Development Corporation of Uttarakhand Limited (SIDCUL) officials and offices from Government of Himachal Pradesh to showcase their products in the fair this year," Dharchula SDM, R K Pandey said.
The fair in Dharchula sub-division of Pithoragarh is being organised for the last 100 years.
"We are giving preference to tribal traders who have come to sell their handicrafts at the fair," Pithoragarh district magistrate C Ravishankar said.
However, with changing lifestyle, people prefer purchasing goods manufactured in factories than those made by local craftsmen, traders at the fair said.
"This tendency among buyers to go for factory manufactured products has not only snatched livelihood from poor tribal traders and craftsmen, but also reduced the significance of the fair," said Prem Singh Khimal, a trader from Darma valley at the fair.