A group of young entrepreneurs in border area in West Tripura district, Katlamara, have come together with an idea to encourage self-employment and work on locally available ‘kanakaich’ species of bamboo.
They have started handicraft workshops and community facility Centres (CFC) in the bordering area, which was once the den of militants, hoping to earn income with their skills.
“We were born here and the bamboo business has been revived by the third generation artisans. There was a time during insurgency, especially from 1995 to 2001, when our forefathers had to abandon this business and vacate this region. Our families were all displaced. But since 2002, the situation became stable and we, the third generation artisans, returned here and revived our traditional bamboo business,” said president, Bamboo Enterprises United, Manna Roy.
The demand is significantly rising in the area and artisans say reason behind this is shift from traditional bamboo decorative items to utility artistic household furniture that are durable, affordable and trendy.
In 2007, a team member from the industry had even participated in five-day long London Handicrafts Exhibition in Birmingham, where they received good response and started exporting their products to Europe and U.S.
“During the days of insurgency, bamboo might have been more important because that time things were not accessible to the people of Tripura so during insurgency days people might have used it more. Now it is used a bit less but in terms of business it has increased,” said scientist, R. N. Pandey.
After 2004, gradually with raising border fencing with Bangladesh, militant activities started decreasing and peace returned to Tripura and people also started returning back to their ancestral villages.
The state is also promoting revival of the industry and is hiring knowledge and technology from various countries like China, which are highly developed in bamboo technology, and has setup a Bamboo Mission and started a Bamboo Park, first of its kind in India.