Staff Reporter

Kudumbasree assisting in training programme

Training for first batch has been completed

1,000 women to be trained in 3 years

KOZHIKODE: With the Feroke-Cheruvannur-Ramanatukara industrial belt in Kozhikode set to emerge as a hub of footwear manufacture, a spin-off would be the creation of sizeable job opportunities, especially for women.

The Footwear Design and Development Institute in Cheruvannur set up with the objective of quality control and design improvement, with the assistance of footwear manufacturing units in the area and the proactive involvement of the Kudumbasree Mission and the Cheruvannur-Nallalam grama panchayat, is expected to create job opportunities for scores of women.

“The two-and-a-half month training in footwear stitching has been completed for the first batch. Basic qualification for the trainees is orientation towards tailoring,” V. Naushad of the VKC Group and the main force behind the venture told The Hindu here on Sunday.

The support of the Government of India came by way of 30 per cent subsidy for setting up the training centre by including footwear manufacture in the ‘thrust’ sector list. The Central Leather Research Institute, Chennai, conducted the tests for trainees. It also provided assistance of Rs.56 lakh.

Mr. Naushad said the State Kudumbasree Mission was providing assistance for conducting the training. The grama panchayat was involved in organising the training programme. As of now, seven machines were provided for a group of 10 members each.

Contract job work

After the training, the women would be in a position to take up contract stitching job works for the footwear manufacturers.

The entire operation has been planned on a large scale, Mr. Naushad said. As many as 1,000 women would be trained in the skill over a period of three years. The skilled stitching is now done by migrant labourers from West Bengal.

There are as many as 100-odd small and big footwear units in the Cheruvannur-Feroke-Ramanatukara belt, said Mr. Rasheed, District Industries Centre.

K.P.A. Hashim, Standing Committee chairman of Cheruvannur-Nallalam grama panchayat said women were being trained in `upper stitching’ of footwear.

Workers from Bengal

Now more than 1,500 skilled workers from West Bengal are engaged in the job. The effort is to train local women in the skill and thereby generate economic activity on a large scale.

A 12-member women group has undergone training and practical experience at the manufacturing units. The second batch of 40 women is in the process of completing training, Mr. Hashim said.

P. Damodaran of Odisia welcomed the setting up of the Design Centre.

He said it would help improve quality.

The training will ensure the availability of organised skilled labour, said Paul Varghese of Hawalker. The Design Centre must have its own premises, he adds.

Mr. Naushad stressed the importance of technology upgrading. Only less than 50 per cent of the footwear required was produced here.

The trend can be reversed by manufacture of footwear of quality and consumer–friendly designs and the Design Centre was an initiative in this direction.