BARPETA, Aug 6 - The Assam Bel Metal Co Operative Society Limited has demanded artiste pension for eligible bel metal artisans and minimum payment of Rs 1 lakh for those artisans retiring from work due to old age.
In a memorandum submitted to Governor Professor Jagadish Mukhi, the society narrated the history of bel metal industry in Assam and the co ooerative society at Sarthebari and presented before him the problems faced by the people associated with it.
The memorandum stated that more than 50 per cent of population in Sarthebari area are dependent on cottage industries producing bel metal utensils. There are more than 300 small production units known as Garh Shal which produces various kinds of utensils and decorative items used by the people of the state. Besides, some of the products are exported to neighbouring countries like Bhutan, Nepal, China and Myanmar thereby earning foreign exchange for the country.
But the condition of the artsans working in the industry is pathetic and they have to live life in abject penury. The government has paid least attention to improve the condition of the artisans and the industry as a whole. So the Governor was urged that the loan amount of Rs five crore granted in 2012-13 shoud be converted into grant.
The society demanded at least two artiste pensions yearly for eligible bel metal artisans and grant of minimum one lakh for those who leave work due to age or ailment. It also demanded an amount of Rs one crore to construct a guest house enabling accommodation for visitors and research scholars to study bel metal works there.
The memorandum was handed over to the Governor during his visit to the head office of the co-operative society at Sarthebari on August 3 last. It is learnt that the Governor has assured all possible steps to improve the condition of both the industry and the people associated with and to instruct the government to take positive steps in this regard.