Textiles minister opens Garment Centre in Meghalaya

Union textiles minister Smriti Irani and Chief Minister of Meghalaya Dr Mukul Sangma, inaugurated the first ever Apparel and Garment Making Centre in Meghalaya, near Ampati. The centre, covering an area of 45,000 square feet, has been set up at a cost of approximately Rs 14.26 crore, under the North East Region Textiles Promotion Scheme (NERTPS).

The centre has three units, two of them housing 105 sewing machines each, and the third one with seventy machines.

“The project is testimony to the true convergence of efforts of Central and state governments. The Apparel Centre will create employment opportunities for both men and women of the region, thereby empowering them economically,” said Irani.

She added that the ministry of textiles is implementing projects worth Rs 70 crore in sericulture and weaving sectors for Meghalaya alone. Around Rs 32 crore has already been sanctioned for the state of Meghalaya, for promotion of handlooms.

As the region is well-known for regional dyes, Irani urged upon the weavers of the state to register with India Handloom Brand, which she said can directly connect the weavers with big multinational companies. The minister also said that once the centre starts functioning to its full potential, it will give an indication to investors across the country that the youth of the region are ready for economic engagement and expansion.

Dr Sangma spoke of the advantage provided by the availability of international market in neighbouring Bangladesh, and the opportunity it offers in forging business partnerships with investors of Bangladesh. Stating that the weavers of the region are a ready workforce and that they only require advanced training, he highlighted the importance of providing training for their technological up-gradation.

“The Centre has given special focus to Meghalaya, particularly Garo Hills, in creating job-oriented programmes. There could not be a better programme for women than this, for promotion of textiles and handlooms in the state. There is a need to create industries and employment opportunities to harness the potential of sectors such as sericulture and weaving,” said Kiren Rijiju, Union minister of state for home affairs.

The Apparel and Garment Making Centre is being set up as part of a landmark initiative announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Nagaland, on December 1, 2014. The Prime Minister had announced that a centre shall be constructed in all North Eastern states. Each centre set up under the initiative is estimated to generate direct employment for 1,200 people.

For local entrepreneurs with requisite background, required facilities to start a unit will be provided in ‘plug and play’ mode. Once such entrepreneurs get established, they can set up their own units, allowing the facility to be provided to new entrepreneurs. The project will be fully funded by the ministry of textiles, with an estimated expense of Rs 18.18 crore for each state.

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