The manufacture and sale of the elegant traditional Dhaniakhali handloom sarees have in recent years become a non-profitable business with the demand for the sarees falling day by day. The handloom weavers are unable to meet the customers’ demand for a blend of traditional Dhaniakhali art and design with contemporary art and design and hence the Dhaniakhali sarees ~ Katkol Mata, Mata, Robin Baluchuri and others which once sold like hot cakes now have far fewer buyers. Mr. Binoy Bhusan Laha, manager of Somaspur Union Co-operative Weavers Society Ltd said the state government is well aware of the need to revive the handloom saree industry, and to bring innovative changes into the traditional art and design of the Dhaniakhali handloom sarees, the government has carried out training sessions for the handloom weavers to update the manufacturing process with contemporary art and design which has great market demand.

Such a blend and fusion of the traditional Dhaniakhali handloom sarees’ art and design with contemporary art and design will also provide a boost to the existing handloom business, he said. The demand for the Dhaniakhali handloom sarees with the new concept of fusion of the traditional design with the contemporary art and design will increase the sale of these sarees manifold, he said, adding that the increased demand for the sarees will provide better scope of income to the handloom weavers.

The implementation of the concept of fusion of the traditional with the contemporary art and design will put the handloom sarees in the first row, giving tough competition to the powerloom sarees, he said. The present generation of the handloom weavers’ families will get inspired and encouraged to carry on and hold fast to the traditional concept of the Dhaniakhali handloom sarees upgraded with the innovative concept of fusion of art and design. However, Mr Laha added, “It is sad that the handloom weavers, even after receiving training in upgradation in the art and design of the traditional Dhaniakhali concept, seem quite indifferent to implement it practically.”

The state government besides conducting training sessions for the weavers should initiate a mass motivation programme and see that every weaver taking advantage of the Tant Sathi schemes should start weaving Dhaniakhali sarees with the implementation of the fusion and blending of the traditional with contemporary art and design, he said.