Kharsawan: Amda, a nondescript hamlet in Seraikela-Kharsawan district and around 170km from capital Ranchi, is all set to find a place on the nation’s sartorial map.
The state’s first green khadi park, where spinning wheels will operate entirely on solar energy, is inching closer to debut on two acres in this village. Trial run of the Rs 2-crore project has already begun.
“It is our first solar khadi park. We have installed 200 charkhas that will run on renewable energy in the first phase. Gradually, we shall reduce in-house dependence (power consumption for lights and fans) on electricity as well,” said Sanjay Seth, chairman of Jharkhand Khadi Evam Gramodyog Board.
According to Seth, operational trials are being conducted for a month now. “We shall seek time from the governor and the CM for formal commissioning, which is expected to happen soon,” he said.
Work on the ambitious project began in August although the building was ready for three years. Besides the production unit, the park boasts a museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, manicured gardens and an emporium.
“The objective is to make this a showcase khadi park in the country. Recently, officials of apparel manufacturer and exporter Orient Craft had visited Amda. They have expressed their desire to place bulk orders once we get up and running,” Seth said.
Sunil Kumar Sharma, in-charge of the park, said 90 rural women had working on the charkhas.
“On an average, each woman produces around 100gm of silk threads a day. We trained them for two months before introducing them to the production floor. The solar spinning machines are new for them. As they gain experience, the output will increase,” he said.
For every kilo of thread spun, the women take home Rs 1,000. On an average, they will earn anywhere between Rs 5,000 and Rs 6,000 a month in coming days, promised Sharma. For illiterate or semi-literate women in Amda, Burudih and nearby areas, the new khadi park has sparked hopes of empowerment.
Suru Bankirya (19), a matriculate who couldn’t study further because she had to help her widowed mother in the farm for two years, is now dreaming of resuming school with her own earnings.
Binita Pradhan (35), on the other hand, wants to admit her five-year-old son to a private school. “My husband works in a small firm and his income isn’t sufficient to run our family of five, including my in-laws,” she said as she sifted silk threads from cocoons.
Sangeeta Soi, a trainer, maintained that bringing these women to the park wasn’t an easy task. “We visited each household to explain the job and convince them that they can do it. Many were apprehensive, many unwilling, but we managed to get 90 to work. They now believe in their dreams,” Soi summed up.