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Govt to help in commercial manufacture of footballs

Subhendu Maiti | Kolkata |

As the countdown for the forthcoming world cup football scheduled in June-July in Russia begins, Bengal government along with the Refugee Handicraft Managing Committee under the state industry, commerce and enterprises department is gearing up for a bumper manufacture of footballs this time for the soccer frenzy state.

In a tie up with the committee, the state has already started commercially manufacturing footballs involving hundreds of village women to supply them to different camps of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and national soccer giants like Mohunbagan, East Bengal and several others in states.

The chief minister Mamata Banerjee has already given names like ‘challenger’, ‘striker’, ‘joyee’ etc for different types of footballs manufactured by women in centres of Chandannagar, Tarakeswar, Shibpur and Alipore correctional home.

“There may be a sharp increase in demand of our footballs this time because of the FIFA Cup, world’s greatest month-long soccer show in the earth. We are waiting for a circular directing to increase productions from the government,” said Mr Srijit Dasgupta, secretary of the committee.

“Some foreign consulates in the city have shown interests to buy our footballs. For instance, the Chinese consulate has already given us an order to supply around 1,000 footballs to them. We will also supply our products to the German consulate,” Mr Dasgupta said.

“As compared with the quality and standard of products of international football manufacturing giants, our footballs can compete with them. Soccer frenzy players will prefer our footballs because of low cost issue. You will have to cough up only around Rs 650 including GST and logistics charge per football while for an international brand it will take minimum Rs 1,500,” he added.

The state that has given the country some of their finest footballers is taking a step ahead to come up with the finest footballs too.Thanks to the chief minister who is now trying to revive the football manufacturing industry in the state,” said a senior official in the industry department.

The committee is constant training villagers mostly women to make footballs. It has already trained around 600 women who now earns around Rs 300 daily after manufacturing five to six footballs a day.

“Last year we had manufactured around two lakh footballs. At a time we have the capacity to manufacture two lakh more. We have a plan to involve 5,000 women to meet up the target of manufacturing four lakh footballs every year,” the official added requesting anonymity.

Bengal government has also plan to become the bulk supplier of footballs in
the country challenging Jalandhar city where around 100 units manufacture the country’s highest number of footballs.

“We want our home giants like Mohun Bagan and East Bengal to play with the balls the state produces.This way we can revive the industry of football manufacturing that died out in the 1970s,” he added.