Plastic ban: UP constitutes 'Pottery Board' to promote terracotta items

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Days after announcing the intent of imposing plastic ban in Uttar Pradesh, the Yogi Adityanath government on Tuesday cleared the proposal of constituting a ‘Maati Kala Board’ (Pottery Board) to promote the use of terracotta items and artefacts.

The purpose of the Board would be to revive pottery and hand-crafted earthenware. The government would also take steps to promote the usage of earthen cups and earthenware to reduce the use of plastic and support the traditional potter community.

Earlier, Chief Minister Adityanath had announced that the government would encourage the use of earthen pots and cups in place of plastic in government offices as a green initiative in the state. He had directed officials to expedite the process of providing land on lease for extraction of clay used in pottery.

Such pottery promotion bodies already exist in several other Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled states such as Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

UP health minister and state government spokesperson Sidharth Nath Singh said the Khadi and Gramodyog minister would be the ex-officio chairman of the Board or would be nominated by the state government.

Besides, the principal secretaries of the departments of Khadi, revenue, finance, mining, social welfare, labour and backward welfare would also comprise its board. Additionally, 10 members would be nominated on the Board by the government, he announced at the post-cabinet meeting briefing.

“The primary aim of the Board would be to frame the policy for developing pottery, facilitating easy availability of clay for potters, the benefit of artisans and marketing support,” Singh informed.

In May 2018, a delegation of the Prajapati community, which is traditionally engaged in pottery and creating earthenware and artefacts, led by Brajesh Kumar Prajapati had called upon the CM here. The delegation had handed over a charter of demands for the socioeconomic amelioration of the community, which continues to lag on the fringes of society owing to lack of adequate support.

The delegation had also gifted earthen pressure cooker, bottle and other pots to the CM, who is known to espouse causes of rustic and traditional arts and crafts. At the meeting, Adityanath had suggested the delegation to integrate modern interventions in the traditional pottery craft for a more viable business and livelihood model.

Adityanath said pottery could be encouraged through various central government schemes, such as Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, Stand-up India, Startup India, besides the state government’s very own One District, One Product (ODOP) scheme.

ODOP is aimed at giving a push to traditional industries synonymous with the respective districts of the state. UP is uniquely famous for product specific traditional industrial hubs across 75 districts viz. Varanasi (Banarasi silk sari), Bhadohi (carpet), Lucknow (chikan), Kanpur (leather goods), Agra (leather footwear), Aligarh (lock), Moradabad (brassware), Meerut (sports goods), Saharanpur (wooden products) etc.

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