The Textiles Ministry today said it has taken various steps, including allowing use of land of closed mills for economic activities, to strengthen the jute sector, create jobs and provide housing for jute mill workers. The decisions follow Textile Minister Santosh Gangwar's meeting in Kolkata yesterday with stakeholders in the jute sector.
"It has been decided to utilise the unused assets, such as land, of the three closed mills of NJMC (National Jute Manufactures Corporation Ltd) for economic activities. The focus is to generate employment. "Activities such as apparel park or textile hub shall be considered. The Government of West Bengal has been requested to support this initiative, while PricewaterhouseCoopers has been engaged to prepare the roadmap, the Ministry said in a statement.
Besides, National Jute Board will intensify development and promotion of diversified jute products.
Training of Women's Self Help Groups, including that of groups of Tiger Widows in the Sundarban, will be given emphasis. Reputed R&D institutes such as IIT Kharagpur, NITRA and IJIRA are also being involved. The National Institute of Design has been roped in to assist in the development of new designs and for setting up of state-of-art design centre for shopping bags and other jute lifestyle products, the statement said. Efforts will be made to commercialise feminine hygiene products and low-cost carry bags.
All state governments would be requested to support the marketing of these products. The meeting also discussed provision of housing for jute mill workers through collaborative schemes.
The Ministry would support this initiative, while Government of West Bengal has also been requested to participate. The Ministry is also trying to persuade state governments to order more jute sacking to boost demand. Government of West Bengal has been requested to procure jute sacking for packaging of paddy/rice and of potatoes/ vegetables. State Government representatives have assured that they would sort out the issue in consultation with the jute industry.