July 18, 2014 12:57:05 pm
The Union textile ministry is in the process of roping in Bollywood actor and former Miss World Priyanka Chopra as brand ambassador for Banarasi saree.
Union textile secretary Zohra Chatterji said this at an interaction with mediapersons in Varanasi on Wednesday. Chatterji was on a two-day official visit to Varanasi during which she met stakeholders of the flagging handloom sector and discussed the challenges and possibilities to improve the situation.
The textile secretary’s visit comes after the government in its annual budget on July 10 announced plans to set up a Rs 50-crore Trade Facilitation Centre and a Crafts Museum for handloom products in Varanasi, the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Chatterji reportedly told journalists that talks with the Bollywood actor were in an advanced stage. Assistant Director (Handloom and Textiles), Varanasi Division, Ministry of Textile, K P Verma said over phone: “As per our information, the talks are in an advanced stage. The secretary shared this information with us and we are awaiting a formal announcement.”
Verma added it would be some time before the entire promotional scheme takes shape. “It is likely to include ad campaigns, putting up hoardings at vantage points and other measures for promotion of the Banarasi saree. The idea is almost similar to that of Amitabh Bachchan being roped in for Gujarat Tourism,”he added.
Dr Rajnikant of Human Welfare Association and state convenor for State Alliance for Rights, Empowerment and Livelihood (SAREL), a group of NGOs, said: “We are happy with the announcement. In fact, we had written to the Secretary in the previous government seeking a brand ambassador for the Banarasi saree.”
At that point, added Dr Rajnikant, the buzz was that actor Nandita Das would be roped in as brand ambassador.
The weavers have often rued that they do not enjoy exposure to bigger markets. In the wake of competition from power looms, products from centres like Surat and presence of Chinese yarn and machines in the market, the traditional handloom workers have been losing out on orders.
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