Protection to bell-metal
Guwahati (3 Mar'14) - About 2000 artisans engaged in the century-old
bell-metal industry of Sarthebari today staged a demonstration, in
front of the office of the Commissioner of Industries here, in support
of their demand for bringing an end to the exploitation they are subjected
to by some raw-material hoarders.
They also demanded a Rs100-crore package for the development of the bell-metal industry of Sarthebari.
They marched to the Bamunimaidam office of the Commissioner of Industries in a procession from the Assam Engineering Institute (AEI) ground at Chandmari. They were accompanied by some people of Sarthebari area and Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) members.
The participants of the demonstration organised by the Assam Bell-metal Artists' Association, Sarthebari, in association with the KMSS, in their memorandum submitted to the Industries Commissioner, also raised the demand for making the raw materials for the bell-metal industry easily available to them.
To save the bell-metal industry of Sarthebari from the fake items that are making inroads into the industry, they demanded protection to the Sarthebari bell-metal industry under trademark and registration of its geographical indication.
The Government should issue a licence to the Assam Samabay Kahar Sangha to supply damaged bell-metal items to the bell-metal artisans so that the scarcity of raw materials faced by the industry could be overcome. The Government should also supply the melting and processing equipment to the artisans at cheaper rates, they said.
They further called for supply of wasted timber of the Forest Department to the artisans for preparing the charcoal required by the bell-metal industry.
The demonstrators also called for steps to extend free medical treatment, old-age pension, food security etc., facilities to the artisans involved in this industry.
They demanded that the children of the artisans should be provided financial assistance to continue their studies and for the purpose, an annual allocation in the range of Rs 2 crore to Rs 5 crore should be made.
They also sought a training programme for the artisans to modernize the industry and 30 per cent subsidy per year on the bell-metal items produced by the artisans.
Vice president of the Association Nandi Barman told us that the Commissioner of Industries has invited the Association for a discussion at 4 pm tomorrow on the issues it raised today.
Courtesy: by Nandi Barman, VP of Association.