DPR to be prepared soon on craft villages, clusters on both sides of Mysuru-Bengaluru Highway
Mysore/Mysuru: A day after BJP Rajya Sabha MP from Karnataka Lehar Singh Siroya urged the Centre to develop a crafts village similar to Delhi Haat along the Mysuru-Bengaluru expressway to protect the livelihoods of Channapatna toys artisans, officers confirmed to Star of Mysore this morning that a Detailed Project Report (DPR) will be prepared and the crafts village project will be included in the Highway plan.
Officers in the know of things in Mysuru and New Delhi said that craft villages or craft clusters will come up on both sides of the Expressway and steps will be taken to encourage the artisans, particularly toy-makers.
“The villages will come up between Maddur and Channapatna and necessary changes will be made in the project to accommodate the craft villages. MP Pratap Simha has communicated the same to us and a DPR will be prepared as an additional project,” officers said. They added that in the earlier plan, there was no mention of craft villages.
Speaking during Zero Hour in Rajya Sabha, Lehar Singh said the craft villages can come up on the vacant lands along the Highway and provide space for Channapatna artisans to showcase and sell their toys and handicrafts and build restaurants to offer the most sought-after local cuisine.
As the Highway nears completion in two to three months, he stated that majority of users will skip several towns along the route, such as Bidadi, Maddur, Ramanagara — famous for cuisines such as Bidadi Thatte Idli and Maddur Vada — and Channapatna — the ‘Land of Toys’.
Furthermore, the craft villages will also provide a platform for millions of tourists to witness the rich heritage and culture of Mysuru region, he added. Artisans in Channapatna and nearby towns largely depend on thousands of commuters for selling their artifacts. “The Highway will result in a sudden customer drop. This will be an economic disaster for the nearly 3,000 artisans and thousands of employees dependent on tourists for their livelihoods besides delivering a blow to the region’s culture, cuisines and heritage, which has been preserved for hundreds of years,” Singh said.
He also wrote a letter to Union Minister for Highways and Surface Transport Nitin Gadkari on this issue and offered to coordinate with the Highways Ministry, State Government and local elected representatives to ensure the idea becomes a reality.
PM Modi in ‘Mann ki Baat’
In August 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a thrust to local toys in his monthly ‘Mann Ki Baat’ and made a mention of the famous Channapatna toys.
He had highlighted how COVID-19 pandemic had dealt a crippling blow to the toy industry. Out of the nearly 200-plus toy making units, only 25 to 30 percent are functioning on a nominal basis owing to lack of demand.
The PM called for a push in policy initiatives, including setting up of a toy cluster, to shore up financial returns for artisans.