Enthused over multifold increase in domestic silk production over the past five years, chief minister Arjun Munda has requested the Union government to reconsider its decision about relaxing excise and custom duty on imported silk from 35 per cent to five per cent announced during the recent general budget.
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Munda has drawn his attention to the fact that raw silk production in Jharkhand has increased from 40 metric tonnes in 2005 to 716 metric tones within five years. "If cheap silk is allowed to enter the country from foreign lands the day is not far when silk from our own country would be procured by China and we will be compelled to buy finished silk from them at a higher cost," Munda said.
Inaugurating a two-day seminar of silk scientists here on Tuesday, Munda laid emphasis on linking more and more people with the industry. "Over 200 scientists from all over the country are discussing various issues related to better quality and production of forest silk, its processing and marketing to grab the opportunity of ever increasing demand for silk," Munda said.
Central Tasar Research Institute director B C Prasad said scientists are targeting raw silk production of 5,000 metric tones for the 12th five year plan as against the annual silk production of 1,050 metric tonnes currently. "Jharkhand can contribute efficiently to this production target with new processing technicques developed for the four wild varieities of silk of Oak, Erri, Moonga and Tasar," he said.
Describing silk industry as a labour intensive cottage industry, Munda said that more and more women can be trained to take up silk rearing and production in the coming years to augment the overall production.
"We are planning to start the dyeing process so that finished silk can be produced here and our brand gives competition to silk from Bhagalpur and Varanasi," Munda said.