RAJAHMUNDRY: The popular Lace Park at Narasapuram in West Godavari, which used to export lace works including frocks, tops, cushion covers, table mats, bedsheets and other products to the US, Europe, Middle-East nations and also to Sweden-based IKEA and earning a good amount of foreign exchange in the process, is on verge of collapse for want of support from the state government.
As many as one lakh women artisans from different parts of Godavari districts are involved in crochet lace craft. The West Godavari administration took the initiative to set up the Alankrithi Lace Manufacturing Mahila Mutually Aided Cooperative Societies Federation Limited, Narasapuram in 2004 for integrated development of rural women artisans to train them in skills and help them earn their livelihood.
In 2008, the Centre under Comprehensive Handicrafts Cluster Development Scheme sanctioned grants to set up raw material banks, market development centre, international lace trade centre, design and resource centre and common production centres. The development commissioner of handicrafts, district rural development agency and other agencies, imparted training on various skills to the women artisans and helped them to develop several designs in association with National Institute of Fashion Technology and National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. This helped them to export quality cushion covers to IKEA.
In course of time, for want of support from the state government and other agencies, the one-time popular Lace Park has become a non-performing asset.
Experts in the field say that with no election held for federation cooperative societies for nearly 13 years, it has become dormant. No audit of accounts and renewal of permission to societies are being taken up for five years. No training on skill development is being provided to the artisans for the last five years either by the state government or by the Centre.
The Lace Park lost the crucial connectivity to other design and resource centres and also to International Lace Trade Centre resulting in no innovating activities being taken up in the production of lace works. Several common production centres and common facility centres set up by DRDA remained inoperative for long. The machinery installed in the park developed rust for want of maintenance and usage.
Office of development commissioner for handicrafts’ assistant director Manoj Lanka said, “As the demand for machine made lace works goes up in the international market, there is no much demand for manually made lace works. Moreover, an exit strategy is being worked out on Lace Park. However, as the Common Production Centres are linked up with an exporter, they have to go for value addition and diversification of production to find out market for their products and make the Lace Park viable.”...