Weavers in a remote village in North Dinajpur district of West Bengal have been stitching Banarasi-style carpets for around three decades, but with little recognition. Only recently, the West Bengal Directorate of Textiles decided to set up a mega carpet cluster at Malgaon village in Kaliaganj block where hand-woven carpets are being made since the middle of 1980s. As of now, around 300 women weave carpets in the village as members of Malgaon Handloom Cluster Development Society, formed in 2009.
The society's president Siddique Hossain says five European experts were recently brought to Malgaon by a Kolkata-based export organisation and they were highly impressed with the quality of carpets weaved there. It was the effort of Abu Taher, a resident of Malgaon who took interest in carpet weaving during a visit to Varanasi in 1978 and brought the technical knowledge back to his village. By 1985-86, he passed on the acquired knowledge to the children of Malgaon, though there was hardly any market for these carpets in the area.
Later in 2009, women of self-help groups were trained in the art and Malgaon Handloom Cluster Development Society was formed. The District Industries Centre now makes arrangements to send these carpets to various handicraft fairs across the country fetching modest income for the weavers sometimes.