Kolkataâ€™s hand-embroidered saris started slowly losing its popularity since 2007 mainly due to f Surat's embroidery sector. Surat embroidery industry in 2006 imported computerized Schiffli and multi headed embroidery machines from China, Taiwan and Japan. With the help of these machine Surti embroidery manufacturers are able to allegedly copy and manufacturing low-cost look-alikes Kolkataâ€™s exquisite sari designs.
Areas like Varachha, Katargam, Pandol, Ved-Road, Udhna and Pandesara have become the hub of embroidery sector in Surat.
Surat embroidery sector sends annually around Rs 2,000 crore worth of embroidered saris, dress materials and 'chania cholis' to Kolkata which cost just Rs.2,000 to Rs.3,000 as against hand embroidered saris that cost Rs 7,000 to Rs 15,000 in Kolkata.
Surat embroidery industry which began with a few hundred embroidery machines in 2006, today boasts of more than 1.25 lakh high-end embroidery machines with an annual turnover of the embroidered saris and dress materials of around Rs 12,000 crore.
A trader in Kolkata, Rakesh Biwas sends his saris for embroidery work in Surat, as Surti embroidery designs mimics hand-embroidery. It is not costly either. Surat has overtaken traditional hand-woven sari market in Kolkata.
Due to this, most of the traders in Kolkata have opened their offices in Surat so that they can deliver them low-cost embroidered saris, which can be sold in Kolkata and other places.
Surat has come the leading embroidery centre of the country when it comes to designing exquisite polyester and silk saris and dress materials.
According to Federation of Surat Textile Traders Association (FOSTTA) former president, Devkishan Manghani nearly 20 per cent of embroidered fabrics is dispatched to Kolkata and the rest to Delhi, Punjab, Maharashtra and Chennai. Surti embroidery is very cheap compared to the hand-embroidery of Kolkata. Most of the embroidered material from Kolkata is sent to Bangladesh and North-East India.
Surat textile entrepreneurs are happy that Surat's embroidery sector has been kept out of political focus in West Bengal in the campaign for the parliamentary elections as they feared of being blamed for the problems faced by the Kolkata embroidery sector.
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