A stall in Dilli Haat – buyers aplenty! [Image source]
Each major city in India has emerged as a center of export of one commodity or other. While Kolkata ranks high for export of tea, and certain leather and jute items, Delhi is the preferred export center of handicrafts compared to other cities.
One advantage Delhi has for handicraft export is the fact that marble items from Rajasthan and brass products from Moradabad are routed through container terminal station near the city on way to Mumabi port for shipment. These 2 items form a formidable part of India’s handicraft export.
Also, the Handicraft Export Promotion Council under the Ministry of Commerce is located in Delhi, and so too is the formidable Delhi Haat, rather Dilli Haat. Which means export inquiries for any handicraft item come to Delhi by default, and foreign buyers are seen more in the capital.
Handicrafts employ largest number of people in the unorganized sector, and many small and tiny industries allover the country survive by making craft items. However the poor artisans rarely see much money because it is beyond them to arrange export on their own.
To alleviate their plight to some extent, the state government now plans to start a haat in Kolkata following the open-air style of Delhi Haat. There are more plans, like handicrafts museum, a handicraft and handloom export hub, and a training center.
All of these are fine, but what is not is when they are going to see the light of the day. One can easily feel a lack of genuine interest on the part of the government. The best example is the unusual long time it is taking to build a permanent mela ground beside ITC Sonar Bangla.
Therefore, hopes can wait till the time something really happens on the ground.