An alloy raw material bank to supply inputs to artisans at subsidised prices would become operational at Swami Malai in Thanjavur shortly at a cost of Rs. 1 crore, according to K. Sellamuthu, Commissioner and Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation.

Two ‘Urban Haat,' outlets that would enable artisans to sell their products around the year are also going to come up at Mamallapuram near Chennai and in Kanyakumari soon.

He was addressing the inaugural function of Gandhi Shilp Bazaar, an All India Handicrafts Exhibition Cum Sale organised at the Gandhi Museum Grounds here on Sunday by Small Industries Product Promotion Organisation (SIPPO).

Addressing the function earlier, C. Kamaraj, Collector, said that such bazaars would help artisans get to know the customers' preference and shape their demand accordingly.

This expo is expected to see a turnover of Rs. 1 crore.

S. Ramamoorthy, Regional Director (Southern Region), Office of the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Union Ministry of Textiles, said that non-governmental organisations were being roped in to expand the reach of Government schemes to more artisans.

S. Rajagopal, Chairman and Managing Director of SIPPO, said that Gandhi Shilp Bazaar was being organised with assistance from the Central Government all over the country. It was conducted for the second time at Madurai. Many other similar expos are also being held at Madurai owing to the support of the public.

Speaking to journalists earlier, Mr. Sellamuthu said that Poompuhar had seen its turnover increase to an average of Rs. 25 crore per year from Rs. 10 crore five years back. Apart from 16 showrooms in Tamil Nadu and one each at New Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore, Poompuhar is looking to expand and is scouting for land at Rameswaram, Rajapalayam and Tuticorin.

B. Neelavalli, Nodal Officer, SIPPO and P.S. Mahalingam, Assistant Director, Handicrafts Marketing and Service Extension Centre, Office of the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), spoke. The expo will be open till July 20, including on Sundays, and its timings are between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m.

More In: Madurai