There are over 340 stalls showcasing products from across the country

If classy carved wooden products dominate one row, another has jewellery, wall hangings and furniture. The chief attraction remains khadi fabrics, apparel and saris.

At the Khadi Gram Udyog exhibition, inaugurated here on Friday, there’s something for everyone. The month-long expo organised by the Karnataka State Khadi and Gramodyoga Board is being held at Freedom Park.

Greeting you at the entrance is a traditional charkha and a small poster corner that explains the historic relevance of khadi, particularly in the pre-Independence movement.

The expo has over 340 stalls, a majority of which showcase cottage industry products from across the country. The fabric stalls are few and far between, but it was obvious within the first two hours of the exhibition opening that these were the chief attraction. Anuradha, a young teacher who had dropped by on her walk back home, said she was glad the exhibition was being held in such a central location. Pleased with the fabrics on display, she said the discounts were good. “While there are khadi retail shops in the city, there isn’t much variety on offer and they are not always fully stocked. This is a good opportunity to get access to a wider variety,” she said.

The stall owner said that rebates ranged between 15 and 30 per cent.

At least 15 states are represented here, and a large number of stalls are from Karnataka. Madappa from Mandya who was manning a stall that sold toys and artefacts from Mandya and Chennapatna said the exhibition was a good sales opportunity. “Earlier, we would wait for years for an exhibition like this. Now these are more frequent, but I wish all the stalls of a similar kind were grouped together.”

Among handicrafts on sale are several varieties of bamboo. Anurag from West Bengal, whose stall sells painted and carved terracotta ware, said that they hope that business will be good. His neighbouring stall showcases intricate painting on bamboo, a stall that was already attracting attention.

‘Khadi must become trendy’

Khadi has adapted with the times and continues to appeal to “modern tastes”, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies Dinesh Gundu Rao has said.

Speaking after the inauguration of the khadi exhibition here on Friday, he said the fabric was part of our history and must be preserved.

Sugar Minister Prakash Hukkeri said the government had allocated Rs. 38 crore for promoting and marketing khadi.

He said Union Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises K.H. Muniyappa has written to the Finance Ministry seeking a waiver on loans worth Rs. 517 crore taken by khadi units across the country.

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