SUNDARBANS: The sleepy tiger-infested Bali island is being transformed into the deep mangrove thickets of the Sunderbans. Since independence, the island has been completely cut off from the rest of the world, yet it is now a hive of Khadi activity.
Over a hundred tiger widows (Bag Bidhoba) who were engaged in spinning activity by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) in 2018 can now boast of modern amenities, advanced equipment such as charkhas and looms, and marketing support to ensure these women artisans have a sustainable livelihood.
KVIC established a temporary facility three years ago to begin Khadi activities on the island, which has since been turned into a permanent work shed.
Chairman KVIC Shri Vinai Kumar Saxena inaugurated a 3000 square foot work shed and a 500 square foot common facility centre for Khadi craftsmen on the Bali island on Wednesday.
The “Tiger Victim Khadi Katai Kendra” now boasts 125 new model charkhas and 15 modern looms, and employs over 150 women artists from all around Bali. KVIC has also offered yarn dying machinery and readymade garment production machines to these craftspeople.
KVIC supported the modernization of the centre at a cost of Rs 95 lakh through its Khadi Reforms and Development Program (KRDP) and Workshed Scheme for Khadi Artisans. The centre is managed by a local West Bengal Khadi Institution.
Saxena said the Khadi activities on Bali island are inspired by Prime Minister’s vision of empowering the marginalized sections and reconnecting them with the mainstream of development.
“Khadi activities on Bali island will ensure financial sustainability of the tiger widows who were staring at a dark future after having lost the breadwinners for their families in tiger attacks. While the self-employment activities will help rehabilitate these hapless women artisans; it will also encourage other families to take up spinning and weaving activities to earn a respectable livelihood. By taking up Khadi activities, these artisans will be able to earn up to Rs 200 per day. The idea is also to desist these families from venturing into deep water or thick mangroves for fishing and thus mitigate the threat of tiger attacks,” Saxena said.
In 2018, KVIC opened a spinning centre on Bali Island and distributed 75 Charkhas to engage local women artisans in spinning activities. KVIC also handed 500 Bee-Boxes containing live bee colonies to empower the island’s economically disadvantaged residents by giving them with self-employment opportunities. KVIC also provides extensive instruction to these artisans.