Every handloom cluster must have at least one designer to look into design development and offer training to weavers on choosing the right design and colours, keeping in mind the target market. Currently, most of the handloom clusters in Odisha are functioning without designers.
Odishaâ€™s textile sector facing trouble finding qualified designers as the sector has remained a problem in the absence of infrastructure for weavers and textile designers for design development.
The Cluster Development Programme being implemented under the Centreâ€™s Integrated Handloom Cluster Development Scheme has taken a toll. Funds sanctioned by both State and Central Governments under the scheme are lying unutilized in the absence of textile designers.
The Centre is implementing the programme under its Integrated Handloom Cluster Development Programme and Integrated Handloom Development Scheme in three clusters and 39 mini clusters respectively in the State. The three major clusters are at Bargarh, Sonepur and Nuapatna.
Recently, Ministry of Textiles sanctioned four new cluster development projects to be implemented under Integrated Handloom Development Scheme at Routpada, Kutasingha-Loisingha, Jagannathpur and Jalpali clusters, but the projects are yet to be implemented as there are no designers.
Even the State Agency for Development of Handloom Clusters (SADHAC), an autonomous organization under Handlooms, Textiles and Handicrafts Department, has 14 textile designers posts vacant.
As per the Ministry of Textiles norms, only graduates passing out of National Institute of Design (NID) or National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) with three yearsâ€™ experience can be hired as textile designers in handloom clusters. However, the Department has not been able to find such designers to look into design interventions for Odishaâ€™s fabrics.
Meanwhile, the department has appraised the Ministry of Textiles of the problem and also sought permission to employ local National Award winning designers. The Ministry, on its part, has agreed to reduce the number of years of experience to one from three to make it easier on the part the department to find suitable designers.
Although, the department have found some qualified designers in the past but the designers have failed to do justice to Ikat and double Ikat designs and techniques. At present, the department is managing with local traditional designers who have won national-level awards.
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