The State Government recently directed the Handlooms, Textiles and Handicrafts department to expedite the process for establishment of the proposed apparel incubation centre for promoting entrepreneurship in the apparel and garment sector. Though the Ministry of Textiles had sanctioned a proposal for setting up of an incubation centre at National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Bhubaneswar two years back, the proposed centre is yet to come up.

Chief Secretary AP Padhi, who reviewed the performance of the department at a high-level meeting, directed the department to extend active support to NIFT for establishment of the incubation centre which would contribute to entrepreneurial development and enhance the employability in the region.

The 3-seater (300 machines) apparel incubation centre approved by Ministry of Textiles will provide employment opportunity for about 600 youths in textile and garment sectors. With the Centre increasing subsidy by 30 per cent for upgradation of powerloom sector and for the benefit of small weavers, the Chief Secretary asked the department to extend necessary financial support to powerloom units struggling for survival.

The meeting also decided to create yarn bank in all powerloom centres and clusters, so that weavers could get their raw materials in enough quantity and at a reasonable price. This will also help weavers to plan their production programme in advance. Sources familiar with the development said most of the powerlooms are facing raw material shortage and weavers are not able afford high cost of yarn in the market.Though the State Government has been planning for a long time to develop a common facility centre and yarn banks for the weavers, this has not materialised due to lack of institutional support.

With about 1500 functional powerlooms in the State, the Chief Secretary asked the department to develop market linkage for their products.The meeting also discussed the progress of textile museum being set up by the Government at Gandamunda here. The museum is being set up on 12 acres adjacent to the State Institute for Development of Arts and Crafts. It will showcase traditional handloom and handicrafts of the State.