KATHUA: The Kathua district, owing to its distinct topographical and geo climatic conditions, offers suitable milieu for Bamboo plants. The Shivalik range of hills along the Jammu-Pathankot Highway in Kathua has a good concentration of Bamboo plants. The Bamboo has immense potential for generating income and employment in the district. Bamboo is also called as ‘wonder plant’, green gold, emperor of Grasses, woods of the poor etc. because it is used by the people in their everyday utilities.
From past many years Bamboo is closely interwoven with the life of people of District Kathua in several ways. It is used as a construction material besides for the production of everyday utilities like basket, chair, table, brush, Almirah, Bed and many decorative items. The people also earn their livelihood by selling a number of Bamboo artifacts.
To facilitate the locals to benefit from this natural bounty, the Department of Handicrafts Kathua is working tirelessly for promotion of Bamboo craft by providing continuous Skill –up gradation opportunities to the Artisans.
The Department of Handicrafts Kathua has one Advanced and three Elementary Bamboo training centers. Besides, the Department has a CFC of Bamboo & a showroom for exhibition of Bamboo artifacts.
To make further improvement in designs of Bamboo Artifacts, the department has collaborated with SOD (School of Design), Jammu to acquaint local Artisans with the latest trends to put their creativity to productive use as per the market demands.
Under the Financial Support scheme, the Department has so far opened 9 Bamboo units of Cooperative societies, out of which 8 units are sanctioned during the financial year 2021-22.
The department has sent nine local Bamboo Artisans to Assam for Capacity Building and Skill Development Training in Bamboo Craft for 21-days. After getting trained in Assam, they will act as a catalyst by utilizing their acquired Skills for imparting training to the other interested local artists.
“Department is also going to open Bamboo Clusters in Dewal, Billawar under NECBDC for which the survey is being conducted & Camps are being organized to register the artisans. The necessary approval has also been obtained from higher authorities in this regard” said Assistant Director, Handicraft Kathua.
Four Training Centers are being run by the Department of Handicraft in Kathua with intake capacity of 80 Trainees per year. Bamboo Artisans being trained are making a number of new Bamboo products like new design pen stand, decorative table chair set, flower basket, Model of Atal-setu, name plate, bamboo flower with stand, round tables etc.
To strengthen the production & marketing of Bamboo Artifacts, the government is providing Non-refundable Financial Assistance of Rs 1.0 Lakh/year in two equal installments to Bamboo Co-operative Societies.
Pertinently, the UT Government has signed a MoU with NECBDC (North East Cane and Bamboo Development Council) Assam for Bamboo Entrepreneurship and Bamboo Infrastructure Development in J&K.
The signing of MoU will give impetus to bamboo production, its processing, associated business and to develop the bamboo industry into a strong industry of Jammu and Kashmir.
It is worthwhile to mention here that while signing MoU, Lt Governor Manoj Sinha had announced that the J&K Administration will explore the possibility of setting up a State Bamboo Mission (SBM) for planned cultivation of commercial species of Bamboo for the benefit of the farmers. It will create financial and market linkages for the Bamboo produce and facilitate promoting Bamboo startup entrepreneurship, besides developing the training facilities for farmers, entrepreneurs, craftsmen, and villagers associated with the bamboo sector. It will also facilitate market awareness to J&K Entrepreneurs and facilitate the joint exhibitions, export promotions etc.
With the recent development including the signing of MoU and capacity building of artisans coupled with favourable conditions for Bamboo cultivation, District Kathua is slated to become the forerunner in the Bamboo based Agri-Start-ups with its versatile properties and multiple beneficiary uses in the form of Agarbatti, pillar, fencing, housing, household products, raw materials of crafts, pulp, paper, boards, fabrics industry, fuel, fodder, charcoal, healthy foods, pickle, garments, socks, jewelry, tooth brush, medicine etc.