Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Artisans and craftsmen should not allow the ancient arts and crafts to die, and should train their wards and interested persons to keep the heritage of handicrafts alive, Rural Industries Minister Pongalur N. Palanisamy said on Thursday.

Distributing Poompuhar State Awards for artisans for 2005-06 and 2006-07 here, he regretted that many artisans had left the trade as it did not get them enough returns. The State government had taken steps to help the artisans and keep the age-old art alive.

These included providing marketing assistance to craftsmen by selling their products through Poompuhar showrooms located spread across the State and in New Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata, and conducting exhibitions in various parts of the country. It was also arranging training for artisans to upgrade their skills, improve productivity and the quality of products.

Thanks to these measures, Poompuhar’s turnover increased to Rs.2,130 lakh in 2007-08 from Rs.1,858 lakh in 2006-07. The government was also providing them with socio-economic security.

Artisans felicitated

Smita Nagarajan, Chairperson and Managing Director of the Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation, said the State honoured craftsmen and artisans, who had made a commendable contribution. The awardees were selected by a committee of eminent persons in handicrafts.

The award carried a gold medal, Rs.20,000 in cash, a memento and a certificate. In all, 10 artisans were given the awards for two years.

The Minister also felicitated artisans from Tamil Nadu, who won national awards during the last five years.

A five-day exhibition of exquisite artefacts made by award-winning craft persons of Tamil Nadu was inaugurated on Wednesday by Vishwanath Shegaonkar, Secretary, Handlooms, Handicrafts, Textiles and Khadi Department.