GUWAHATI, Sept 20 - There is a need to prepare a road map to strengthen the muga silk sector. Muga is a part of Assamese identity and it occupies a special place in Assamese culture, said State Additional Chief Secretary (Science and Technology) Rajiv Kumar Bora while inaugurating a two-day exhibition on muga silk of Assam at the Assam Textile Institute here today.
The exhibition, which aims at exhibiting the pure muga silk products of some authorised users and providing a scope to interested people, including fashion designers and experts among others, and the authorised users to interact, has been organised by the Patent Information Centre (PIC) of the Assam Science Technology and Environment Council (ASTEC). Muga was registered in 2006 at the initiative of the PIC of the ASTEC with the Geographical Indication (GI) Registry of India and it was given GI No. 55. Its logo has been given the registration number 384 by the GI Registry.
Addressing the function, Director, Sericulture, Mukta Nath Saikia said that the phenomenon of global warming has affected muga production. In view of this, there is a need to develop a strain of muga worm that can resist extreme hot weather conditions, he said.
There is also a need to overcome the challenges posed by environmental pollution caused by the industries to the muga sector of the State. Moreover, a sustainable network to sell muga products at remunerative prices is also the need of the hour, said the Sericulture Director.
The Sericulture Director also informed the gathering at the inaugural function that 18,335 families in the State are engaged in the muga sector and 11,663 hectares of the State land are covered by som or sowalo plantations. Som or sowalo are the two plants that act as the host plants for the muga worms. Including the BTC areas, the State produced 150 MTs of raw muga yarn last year and excluding the BTC areas, it produced 115 MTs of raw muga yarn during that year.
Addressing the function, ASTEC Director Dr Arup Kumar Misra said that due to the problems faced by the sector, the production cost of muga fabric has gone up tremendously and hence, it has become unaffordable for the common people. Earlier, muga fabric was so commonly used by the people of the State that schoolgoing girls even used to wear the mekhela made of muga fabric as part of their school uniforms. He also announced that the ASTEC would extend all sorts of help in securing GI registration for Assamese jewellery.
The function was also addressed by Assam Textile Institute principal Ram Chandra Das, ASTEC PIC Nodal Officer Dr Ranjit Kumar Barman and PIC official Siddhartha Devnath.
In total, ten authorised muga users are taking part in the exhibition with their products. The exhibition remains open for visitors from 11 am to 7 pm. At the venue of the exhibition, a small muga purity testing laboratory has also been installed by the Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology, Boragaon.