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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

Fazilka Jutti needs incentives

Gaurav Sagar Bhaskar , Hindustan Times  Ferozepur, September 29, 2013
First Published: 20:57 IST(29/9/2013) | Last Updated: 21:35 IST(29/9/2013)

Lack of government support and dearth of adequate marketing facilities have become stumbling blocks in the further development of 'Fazilka Jutti', a unique handcrafted trade.


'Fazilka Tilla Jutti', registered as a Geographical Indicator in the name of Fazilka under the Patent Act of India, is one of the favourite footwear among people of the region and the country.

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 The word 'Jutti' is Urdu in origin, which came into common use during the Mughal period in India. Handcrafted leather footwear, it took various shapes and forms in different regions, giving it specific names, like Mojari in Rajasthan, Kolhapuri in Karnataka and Jutti in Punjab.

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As per reports, more than 1.8 lakh pairs, with a turnover of `400 lakh, are manufactured and sold by artisans of Fazilka a year, giving bread and butter to more than 2,000 families involved in Jutti making business directly or indirectly.

Major works like cutting, stitching and pasting are done by male members, while women take up the embroidery work, which, in common parlance, is known as 'tilabharai'. Main raw materials required for it are hides, skins and bark of the 'kikar' (Acacia arabica) tree. The latter is used for treating raw hides.

Not only men, women, too, feel proud in wearing Fazilka Juttis, which come in a variety of colours and designs.

Fazilka Jutti is elegant in style and soft leather used in it makes it comfortable to wear. It is slip-on footwear, which rises high to the Achilles' tendon in the back and covers the toe with a round or M-shaped profoundly embroidered upper shoe, leaving the top of the foot almost uncovered.

Despite Fazilka Jutti's high demand, none of the successive governments ever bothered to chalk out a special strategy to further develop the trade into a major profit-making business.

About two decades ago, certain assistance for machines was facilitated to artisans in Bathinda cluster while banking facilities are available in all clusters. However, access to credit is negligible and mostly the source of finance is own capital or loan from oneylenders/agents/traders, who often charge high rates of interest.

With modernisation and machines taking over most manufacturing activities, the Fazilka Punjabi Jutti is slowly losing its presence and glory at the international level, forcing several artisans to look for alternative means of occupation.

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Being largely handmade, Punjabi Jutti needs no machines, but it does require recognition and support of government at global level. One such initiative can be to place it in the art and culture section of the union ministry of tourism and in government's promotion schemes and other publicity campaigns.

Another cause for concern is that marketing channel is limited to local market and majority of artisans have no direct access to retailers outside the state.

Citizens Speak
There are no facilities and infrastructure for training, skill upgrade and dissemination of information on fashion trends and designs. Government must develop it under small-scale industry by facilitating special incentives.
Ranjam Kamra, youth activist of Fazilka

Lack of policy by government to uplift the socio-economic profile of artisans has worsened the situation. There should be institutional framework for skill, technology and product upgrade.
Jaswinder Singh Sandhu, supporter of Fazilka Jutti

To preserve the old art with a modern touch, government must introduce short-term training courses for local artisan families about packaging, use of IT for value addition and trading through e-commerce, etc.
Harish Monga, social worker

The middle man is taking advantage of disparity in sale price as there is no initiative on part of government to put in place direct retailing facilities.
Shiv Tirpalkee, resident of Tarpal Kee village

Special package in the form of tax holidays should be provided for investors to set up leather industry in the region.
Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, supporter of Fazilka Jutti

The SAD-BJP government is always eager to promote small-scale industry. Soon I will meet representatives of artisans involved in Jutti trade and will take up their demands with the state government for the earliest approval.
Surjit Kumar Jiyani, Fazilka MLA and cabinet minister


Price structure

Type of Jutti            Price in local market per pair            Price in Delhi/Chandigarh or other big cities
Simple Jutti                            Rs. 90-150                                               Rs. 250-350
Semi-embroidered                 Rs 150-350                                             Rs. 600-850
Fully-embroidered                  Rs. 350-600                                             Rs. 900-1,600
 

Type of Jutti           Price in local market per pair              Price in Delhi/Chandigarh or other big cities
Simple Jutti                             Rs. 90-150                                                  Rs 250-350
Semi-embroidered                  Rs 150-350                                                Rs. 600-850 
Fully-embroidered                  Rs. 350-600                                                Rs 900-1,600

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