Locale spanner in Handicraft Village

KATHMANDU: The Federation of Handicraft Association of Nepal (FHAN) is unwilling to develop its dream project -- Handicraft Village -- in the government-chosen area -- Himal Cement Industry at Chobar.

FHAN president Pushkar Man Shakya said the Himal Cement area is in controversy and they are not in a condition to take risks by replacing the Himal cement area with a handicraft village. According to him, if the government resolves the dispute, the place can be used as per the proposal.

"Either the government should resolve the conflict with locals or it should arrange for a different spot at least 40 kilometres from Kathmandu," said Shakya.

The government is working to replace the Himal Cement Area with an international level handicraft village for the promotion and preservation of Nepali handicrafts.

Earlier, FHAN, had a tentative plan to develop a handicraft village having 12 products -- with one product having one cluster -- and 20 enterprises. Tentative clusters will be of metal craft, handmade paper, woollen and silk carpets, gems and jewellery, gold and silver, wood carving, Thanka and modern paintings, potteries and ceramics, stone carving, pashmina and handloom, folklore garments made of natural fabric and an auxiliary factory for accessories for handicraft products.

According to FHAN, the industry employs 1, 33,524 people -- 14.56 per cent of the total craft related employment in Kathmandu, according to a population census of 2058 BS.

FHAN has been trying to establish the handicraft village but it lacks government support. Now, with government initiatives for allowing Himal cement area to be used for the development of a handicraft village, FHAN is quite hopeful for the establishment of a handicraft village.

According to FHAN though there are industrial areas where handicraft products are also produced, it's not enough. There is lack of specialized handicraft village that would have a number of facilities of a specific nature. The association has also drawn up its tentative plan for an eco-friendly handicrafts village. The handicrafts village will also inform tourists about the ethnicity of Nepal.