Weaving magic on silk (The Telegraph ,21.06.07)

But few know that the Lower Assam town of Sualkuchi gets most of its cocoons from Dhemaji district in Upper Assam, which produces nearly three crore cocoons every year. Of these, most are sent to Sualkuchi, which is also known as the Manchester of the East. But Dhemaji itself has skilled weavers who can create magic on silk.

The aesthetic designs by the Mising tribe have become popular in and outside the state. However, silk growers have not been able to grab the available market due to a lack of exposure.

The Dhemaji district administration has realised that the weavers also lack professionalism in adopting modern weaving techniques for refined products.

“In view of this, we have launched Project Subansiri to help the weavers get the right price for their hard work. Initially we are investing Rs 1 crore for the project. More funds will follow,” said Dhemaji deputy commissioner Diwakar Misra.

The weavers will be shown how to procure the best available silk and grab a share of the weaving market. This will ensure that the charm of silk infused with colourful Mising designs can capture a slice of the pie.

A cocoon bank will be set up at Dhemaji to ensure that cocoon producers get a minimum support price for their products. Strategies will be drawn up to enhance efficiency and maintain quality in production of muga yarn by introducing modern reeling machines.

There are plans to introduce sophisticated looms. It will also set up training centres in various parts of the district to create a “network of all weavers group” under one umbrella and rope in dress designers in blending silk (muga and eri) with Mising designs to tap the domestic and international market.

(The Telegraph ,21.06.07)