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Woodcarving training institute a boon for youth in Sikkim

Gangtok, Thu, 14 May 2009 ANI

Gangtok, May 14 (ANI): Apart from its natural beauty, Sikkim is also known for its arts and crafts. The Government of Sikkim is trying to keep alive this rich legacy by encouraging youth to continue their woodcarving skills.


To promote and preserve the ethnic arts of the state, an institute in Sikkim has taken the initiative to train individuals in woodcarving.


To give boost to the cottage art and craft of Sikkim, the Directorate of Handloom and Handicraft also known as the Government Institute of Cottage Industries, is imparting training in traditional art of woodcarving and painting to youth.


The institute is located near the main market of Gangtok. It offers a three-year woodcarving course with comprehensive training in the art of mask carving as well as other woodcrafts of traditional designs.


"After training, the trainees are given certificates. They can work in the institute or on their own as well. The state Government is also providing loans and the benefits are good. After getting the loans, they can set up their own shops for wood carving, cane and bamboo for designs and decorations," said Karma Thinlay Bhutia, instructor, Director of Handloom and Handicraft in Sikkim.


"We get about 10 to 15 painting contracts. One painting contract is worth rupees 300 to 400 and every month it totals up to around Rs. 7,000 to 8,000 which is sufficient for us," said Bhichung Bhutia, Craftsman.


The latent talent of students are honed to enable them to create traditional and contemporary designs and high-quality work.


The institute is making a major contribution to the craft-making industry by supplying it with skilled and capable workers.


The programme is open to unemployed talented youth and crafts persons of the state and enables them to explore their potential and earn a livelihood as well.


Woodcraft holds big potential from employment generation point of view as well as for export purposes too.


"After honing my skills here I will work in this institute as a daily wage worker and earn my livelihood," said Som Tshering Lepcha, a trainee.


"We are learning the old Sikkimese art during training. Once it's over we can work to earn a living," said Sonam Tasi Lepcha, trainee.


Apart from imparting knowledge, skills and information about the potential of the craft, the institute also produces and encourages many craftsmen who will keep alive and preserve the heritage of the state. By Tashi Pradhan (ANI)


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