Wednesday 20 October 2021

Textiles Committee Bhubaneswar Regional Office

Odisha has been famous for exquisite handicrafts, handlooms and textiles. These popular and rich treasures of Odisha have been a part of Odisha's glorious culture, heritage, history, and maritime trade and commerce for long and have immensely contributed to the employment and livelihood of the artisans and weavers of the state. 

Out of the registered seventeen Geographical Indication (GI) products of Odisha, there are twelve handicrafts including nine handlooms. There are many more potential GI products. 

Odisha has an impressive handloom map. 

Note- All handlooms of Odisha have not been shown in the above map.

In addition, Odisha has 50 crafts recognized by the state Govt. 

The Handlooms, Handicrafts and Textiles Department, Govt. of Odisha is in charge of these products, along with the Bhubaneswar Regional Office of the Textiles Committee, Ministry of Textiles, Govt. of India.

It is very disappointing to learn about the decision of the Ministry of Textiles (order No 62/87/2014-AD) that they have decided to close the Bhubaneswar Regional Office of the Textiles Committee. They plan to close, shift, and merge the Bhubaneswar office with the Kolkata Regional Office.

This means that from October 31, 2021 onwards, Odisha's artisans, weavers, and stakeholders are expected to avail themselves of the services either from online or from the Kolkata office.

I cannot understand why there is such urge to close the Bhubaneswar Regional Office. The Ministry of Textiles is not the only one to have decided so. In the past too, there have been orders for shifting of some offices like ICCR and DGFT etc. to Kolkata. 

The Textiles Committee under the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, has been established under the Textiles Committee Act, 1963, (No. 41 of 1963), of the Indian Parliament. It ensures manufacture and use of standard qualities of textiles and textile machinery; scientific, technological and economic research; export promotion; quality inspection and testing; establishment of laboratories and test houses; collection of statistics for market study; and research and advice on development and production. The Textiles Committee is also involved with skill development, cluster development programmes etc. The Textiles Committee is the only organization authorised to provide Harmonized System (HS) classification of textile items, star rating of factories, and promoting hand-woven products through Handloom mark scheme. The Textiles Committee has been facilitating Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection activities with registration of handlooms under the Geographical Indications Act. The Headquarter of the Committee is at Mumbai with 25 Regional Offices covering all important textiles production and export centers in the country.

The very fact that Bhubaneswar has been a part of this list proves its importance. 

The Bhubaneswar Textiles Committee office has been functioning since year 2000, for the textiles sector development. It has been catering to the artisans and weavers of all the districts of Odisha, as well as from Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh, and Bihar.

Many weavers, artisans and stakeholders have been receiving benefits and services such as-


1. Handloom Mark and India Handloom Brand
2. Khadi mark and Samarth
3. Pre and Post-Geographical Indication (GI) initiatives
4. Quality Inspection 
5. Market Research & Development 
6. Testing of Textiles, Chemicals & Dyes
7. Export Promotion etc.


       The Textiles Committee, Bhubaneswar, has also prepared-

       a. Handloom and Powerloom sector Odisha database and study report 

       b. Textile policy for the development of textile industry

It may also be noted that the Textiles Committee, Bhubaneswar, has collaborated and is working with the Odisha State Govt.- Handlooms, Textiles and Handicrafts Dept., for registration of some of Odisha's unique local products as GIs.

The services under various schemes so far have been beneficial for the weavers.

However, now it is a matter of grave concern that all the above services will not be available iOdisha state if the Bhubaneswar Regional Office is closed.

Artisans, weavers and stakeholders must not be inconvenienced by having to travel to Kolkata, rather than getting their queries and requirements addressed in Odisha. That will demand their time, effort and resources, and affect the morale and industry.

Odisha's weavers have been facing many issues like- production and availability of fake products that hamper their sales and morale. The age-old traditional patterns/designs of our Odisha handloom sarees and fabrics prints are copied and printed in factories and mills (mostly outside our state in places in Mumbai, Surat, Kolkata etc) and are being sold here in the local markets and all across India. Also, our Odisha handloom designs are now being replicated by other states- either in their handlooms or powerlooms. These need to be checked. The Bhubaneswar office must work in association with state government to stop the production and sale of such fake products.

The handicrafts and handlooms need to be sold with the logos and tags like Handloom Mark & GI- that are a sign of authenticity. Producers need to be registered so that they can be authorised to use these and better their sales, reach, network, and demand. These need active officials and offices, not closed and inactive ones.

Closure of the Regional Office would also mean that all the database, research studies, reports, documents and files concerning our Odisha state will also be transferred to the other concerned regional office at Kolkata. We do not want such data transfer of our Intellectual Property (IP) to other office/state. 

There are many handloom challenges that have to be taken up. GI activities have to be conducted and the value of handloom and GI tags must be recognized and adopted by all. This needs a well-experienced and dedicated resources and team.

Instead of creating new offices in different parts of Odisha state, it is unfair that the one and only existing office in the entire state of Odisha is being closed. In fact, we have been feeling the need for another Textiles Committee office that should be set up either in Bargarh or Subarnapur (Sonepur) so that it will be beneficial for the weavers and artisans from Western Odisha.

Some states like Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have multiple Regional Offices- six and four respectively. 

Further, states like Kerala, Haryana, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh have two Regional Offices each.

When so many states have additional offices, why has it been decided to close Odisha's one and only office? 

To service the North East and eastern states, only 2 Regional Offices are presently there in eastern India i.e. at Kolkata and Bhubaneswar. If the Bhubaneswar office is closed, then there will be only 1 Regional Office- Kolkata- for the whole of eastern India, which will not do justice to the entire region.

This concerns the well-being, and future of our Odisha state's artisans, weavers, and our state's prestige. Requesting the Ministry of Textiles to please allow the Bhubaneswar Regional Office to continue its operations. Those in charge and in power in the Odisha state Govt must take this up on an urgent basis considering the fact that the date for shifting to Kolkata has already been fixed for this month.


After learning about the impending closure of the Bhubaneswar Regional Office, I searched online regarding this, but I did not find even a single news-report in the media. 

I thought why isn't there any request/protest for reconsideration of the decision, as some stakeholders have already been aware of this decision regarding office closure.

Does it mean that those who knew/know did not/do not care whether the Regional Office exists or not? 

Perhaps, those who know cannot take any action owing to their job, position or other constraints? 

In that case, why don't those who know share the information with the stakeholders those who may be in a better position to take action?

How can all those who will get affected, take action unless they are informed and made aware of what is planned and how it will impact them?

Whose responsibility is it to share information regarding such developments and challenges?

After learning about this news of Bhubaneswar office closure, I shared it on social media and in some producer groups and personally informed some stakeholders. However, the response has been lukewarm. Don't they understand the gravity of the situation? This reminds me of the Rasagola GI case when many were/are not even bothered!

Do most people expect that others will fight all such "battles" and "wars", while they will either comment what is going wrong or be mute bystanders, or not have any clue at all?

Why do some group members (viz in WhatsApp groups specifically created for the purpose of sharing such news, events and developments) do not even share posts or take action even after being privy to information?  

Today, it is a Regional Office, tomorrow it may be something else. Collective participation and action can help as 'unity is strength'. It is surprising how the Rasagola issue still has not succeeded in generating awareness and in pricking the conscience. But, then what else to expect after decades of conditioning with chaliba (chalta hai- all is well/it is fine/should be okay/let us adjust) and kana-miliba (what will I/we get) and kana darkaar (why is it needed) attitude?

The situation we (as in Odisha & Odias) are in presently can be explained considering the lack of unity, interest, intention, direction, decisiveness, and collaboration. 

This post is intended to serve as a wake-up call for all to take immediate interest and proactive intervention and action for a conducive resolution and salubrious environment and to ensure development and progress of our state.  

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