Handmade paper home

KATHMANDU: Lokta Paper is taking its old place after 11 years.

Come 2010 and you’ll have a Nepali citizenship card from Nepali handmade paper like in the old days. But this time around, it will be a card unlike the earlier book format.

Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology (NBSM) has approved the minimum standards of Nepali handmade paper presented by Nepal Hand Made Paper Association (HANDPASS) for Nepali citizenship cards.

The paper testing laboratory report has been approved both by HANDPASS and NBSM, and the finalised report is ready to be forwarded to the Home Ministry. According to Kiran Dangol, former secretary of HANDPASS, NBSM will — in a few days — forward the document to the Home Ministry mentioning the minimum standards required for the Lokta paper that is to be used for Nepali citizenship cards. The ministry will ask for quotation after the approval of the standards. Nepali Lokta paper was on the verge of extinction from the local level with a cabinet decision on March 9 approving the use of Nepali hand-made paper in government legal correspondence.

Lokta paper in the early

days used to be compulsory for government legal correspondence, which became extinct from the government offices. After 1998 AD, the property ownership certificate prepared by the Ministry of Land Reforms and certificate of

citizenship i.e. passport made by the Home Ministry used

to be prepared from hand-made paper of Nepal, were replaced by Ivory paper. For 11 years, the paper for these purposes was imported from foreign countries. Instead of handmade paper, white paper was used for preparation of property ownership certificate and Ivory paper for passport. Handmade paper is popular all over the world because of its natural attractiveness, insect resistance, toughness and other special qualities.

According to HANDPASS, Ivory paper worth Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 was imported

annually by the government.

In 2008, the total export

of Nepali Lokta paper was

more than Rs 300 million

directly and about Rs 200

million indirectly through tourists coming to Nepal.

The present fiscal year budget has also given emphasis on promotiong export through the encouragement of exportable products like handmade paper, tea, coffee, cardamom, lentils, cut-flowers, leather, ginger, scented oil, wooden handicrafts, honey, oranges and green vegetables.

The Federation of Handicrafts Association of Nepal (FHAN) data reveals that with total contribution of nine per cent in total handicraft products exported in the fiscal year 2008-09, handmade paper products export increased by 12 per cent compared to fiscal year 2007-08. In year 2008-09, total handmade paper exported worth was Rs 264.55 million, which was Rs 236.647 million in 2007-08.