The West Bengal Khadi and Village Industries Board (WBKVIB) will soon apply for geographical indication (GI) for its muslin fabric. The work for preparing the necessary documentation for making the application is in its final stages. The board is collating the age-old gazette notifications, different publications in newspapers and magazines to establish the golden history of muslin in the best possible way.
It is also making a detailed documentation on the steps taken in recent times to boost muslin production in the state. It may be mentioned that in Bengal, there are primarily seven districts, which can be identified as major pockets of muslin fabric like Murshidabad, Birbhum, Nadia, Burdwan, Malda and Hooghly and Paschim Medinipur.
There are around 900 to 1,100 families engaged in muslin production. More importantly, even though muslin is produced in some countries of West Asia, their artisans can hardly go beyond 200 count. It is only these six districts that yarns of 500 counts and more are produced. Such fine yarns are of high demand in the international market, especially in Japan.
In July 2015, the state MSME department had started Project Muslin for revival and rejuvenation of brand Khadi and wooing back some of the traditionally skilled artisans who left the handloom sector and sought employment in less-skilled sectors.