Monday, 29 October 2007

Plan for artisans village set in motion in Navi Mumbai

Work on a proposed artisans village on the lines of the Dilli Haat at Pen in Raigad district has begun in right earnest.

Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad said the agency was in the process of acquiring 100 acres of land in Pen and would develop it as a site which will house artisans who will produce local handicrafts to sell to tourists.

Dilli Haat is a combination food plaza and craft bazaar located in the heart of Delhi. Dilli Haat has stalls representing each State of India, giving complete variety of tastes available all over India. There are also stalls of crafts from all over India, and from a variety of cultural traditions of India. There is a nominal entrance fee to shop at Dilli Haat

Unlike the traditional weekly market, the village Haat, Dilli Haat is permanent. Some shops are permanent but other sellers are rotatated, usually for fifteen days. Products offered may include rosewood and sandalwood carvings, embellished camel hide footwear, sophisticated fabric and drapery, gems, beads, brassware, metal crafts, and silk and wool fabrics. Shows promoting handicrafts and handlooms are held at the exhibition hall in the complex. To sell wares, there is an application process and spaces are allocated according to which state the seller is from.

The artisanal village concept was discussed at a meeting of an MMRDA think tank on Saturday. The Think Tank system has been introduced recently at the MMRDA to encourage department heads and planners to brainstorm and come up with innovative ideas for projects.

Gaikwad said the village will be developed as a growth centre to help artisans and other people in the surrounding region. He pointed out that Pen was a traditional centre for crafts, famous for artisans known for making idols of Ganapathy which are sold all over the country. “There is a rich tradition of folk arts and craft in the region which has to be explored and encouraged,’’ said Gaikwad.

The Dilli Haat, on which the proposed artisanal village is based, is an upgraded version of the traditional weekly market, offering a wide mix of crafts, food and cultural activities. Stalls are allotted on a rotational basis to craftsmen from all corners of India who showcase paintings, metalware, terracotta, jewellery, lac and glass bangles, leatherware, textiles, pottery and puppets.

“A food plaza is one of the main attractions of the Dilli Haat which enables visitors to savour the inimitable flavours of different regional foods. The stalls offer a wide choice of ethnic food which is clean, hygienic and reasonable priced,’’ said MMRDA officials.

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