Chief minister Nitish Kumar seems to be on an inauguration spree these days.
After the flyover between Rukunpura and Sheikhpura in the state capital, he is now set to inaugurate Patna haat, the much-awaited marketing facility for artisans of the region in the city. He will also launch the Bihar International Musuem on August 7.
The newly developed craft bazaar in the city has been developed by the industries department on the premises of Upendra Maharathi shilp sansthan. It has 25 shops, which will be allotted on a monthly rotation basis. The government has spent nearly Rs 4 crore on the project.
Artisans and small scale entrepreneurs have been demanding a permanent market in the city on the lines of the Dilli haat for several years now. The region has been known to have a rich assortment of crafts and ethnic arts like Madhubani and Manjusha art, Sikki and wood craft, besides bamboo and terracotta, papier mache and stone crafts.
Artisans have been earning bucks as well as bouquets at the national and even international fairs and exhibitions held occasionally, but they wanted a regular selling point in the city.
“The structure has been ready for the last many weeks, but we were waiting for the CM (to inaugurate it). The haat will be dedicated to the people along with a variety of products. Altogether 25 artisans have already been allotted the stalls for a month,” Ashok Kumar Sinha, the shilp sansthan director, said. “If the response is good, more craft stores would be developed on the first floor of the haat”, he added.
Appreciating the haat concept, senior Madhubani artist and son of Padamshree Mahasundari Devi, Bipin Kumar said , “It’s like an island in the ocean. The place had nothing like this and artisans were totally dependent upon the melas held in the city or in Delhi, Surajkund (Haryana) and at Pushkar (Rajasthan).”
“But we need to take precaution that the facility does fall into the hands of brokers. People have been facing such problem in the Dilli haat,” he said.
Ramchandra Gaud, the well known woodcraft artisan said, he had been selling his products near Mahabodhi temple at Bodh Gaya. “But a selling point in the state capital is a great thing. Lots of foreign tourists visit the place to witness Buddha’s relics,” he said.
But Pushpa Chopra who runs Mahila Udyog Sangh with hundreds of women entrepreneurs as its members, said she was apprehensive about the response to the facility. Women entrepreneurs, especially those in other cities, had been demanding it for the last 14 years.
“But we wanted it in the heart of the city, somewhere near the Patna railway station. The space of the erstwhile jail was ideal, but the Buddha Smriti Park was developed there. The space at Bailey road was also good, but a museum has come up there,” she said.
“The present haat is on the periphery of Central Patna With the huge problem of traffic jam on the city roads, how can you expect a person from Rajendranagar or Bahadurpur area to visit the haat to purchase a gift item? Spending more than half a day for just a small item is not viable”, she added.