Patna, Oct 6 (PTI) The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has empowered nearly 20,000 people in Bihar by distributing 500 potter wheels to as many families in two years, its chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena said.
The state is estimated to have nearly 10 lakh such artisans.
As part of its 'Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojana', the KVIC has distributed electric potter wheels (chaak) to craftsmen in Rohtas, Bhojpur, Nawada, Samastipur, Muzaffarpur, Patna, East Champaran, West Champaran, Khagaria and Sitamarhi districts.
The programme is currently suspended in Bihar due to enforcement of the Model Code of Conduct in view of the forthcoming assembly elections, but after polls the KVIC project will be taken to remote areas of the state for empowering every potter family, Saxena said.
Just two years ago, nobody had even thought that the marginalized potters community in Bihar would find a ray of hope, the KVIC chairman said.
It was Prime Minister Narendra Modis dream to empower the 'Kumhar' community through modern technology and revive the dying art of pottery making in the country, Saxena said.
Jai Shankar Pandit, a potter in Muzaffarpur district, has been one such beneficiary of the 'Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojana', who now makes idols of PM Modi and sells them in Bihar and West Bengal, the KVIC chairman said.
'The idols of Modi-jee are selling in good numbers and fetching me good price. So far, I have sold 75-80 of them at the rate of Rs 800 per piece.
Keeping in view the festive season and for dissuading people from buying Chinese products, I am also making deities - Durga, Laxmi and Ganesh - and a variety of diyas and decorative items,' the KVIC quoted Pandit as saying.
Working on old traditional 'chaaks' required a lot of physical work but the electric potter wheel has taken away the drudgery, Pandit said.
'Earlier, I could hardly make 100 to 150 diyas a day but on the electric chaak, I am making 500 to 600 diyas (earthen lamp) everyday,' he said.
The sole objective of the Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojana is to connect the potters community with the mainstream by increasing their production and income, Saxena said. PTI AR MM MM