Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh on Friday inaugurated the first Handloom and Handicrafts Mall at Wangkhei in Imphal.

The mall will be run by the Manipur Handloom and Handicrafts Development Corporation (MHHDC) Ltd.

The chief minister also unveiled a Crafts Pillar at Wangkhei on Friday.

Besides the CM, Manipur assembly speaker Yumnam Khemchand Singh and MHHDC Ltd. chairman Sorokhaibam Rajen also attended the inaugural function at Wangkhei Keithel Ashangbi.

Speaking on the occasion, chief minister Biren Singh said handloom and handicraft sector hugely contributes to the overall growth of businesses related to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in the state.

The Manipur CM said 50 per cent of the MSME business is owned by women in the state against the national average of 30 pc as per a report of the Union Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

He said the state government is considering to bring out a policy to replace fabrics used in stitching school uniforms with handloom products of the state.

This would increase demand of handloom fabrics thereby creating more profits for weavers, the CM pointed out.

The CM directed the officials concerned to study whether the vicinity of the mall can be developed as a handloom market centre.

“For this, the state government will provide soft loft loans if the shop owners of the area are willing to switch their business to sale of handloom products coming from different localities of the state,” the CM said.

In his address, Assembly speaker Khemchand said there is the need to bring out a policy by MHHDC Ltd. to encourage use of handloom products by men as well.

MHHDC Ltd. chairman Rajen said the present government has been putting in serious efforts to develop the handloom and handicraft sector.

Principal secretary to Textiles, Commerce and Industries, P Vaiphei, Imphal East DC Dr Rangitabali Waikhom, SP Haobijam Jogeshchandra and MHHDC Ltd. managing director Lamlee Kamei were also present at the function.

Sobhapati Samom

Sobhapati Samom is Northeast Now Correspondent in Imphal. He can be reached at: ssamom@gmail.com