Bhopal(Madhya Pradesh): Artisans from Madhya Pradesh engaged in making wooden toys for generations say that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has brought ‘acche din’ for them. Their sales have grown by 25-50pc in the wake of the Prime Minister’s call for promoting indigenous toy industry.
Budni (Sehore district) and Rewa-Satna are the traditional hubs of wooden toys in the state. It is basically a cottage industry, with the entire family engaged in making these toys by using simple machines.
Sujan Vishwakarma (52) from a village near Budni says that around 250 families in his village make toys. "Modi ji ke bolne ke baad bikri badh gayi hai," (After Modi’s push sales have gone up) he says. He, however, also complains that the wood of the Doodhi tree, used for making these toys, has become costlier. He also wants that the artisans should be provided loans for stocking the wood prior to the monsoon season.
Rajendra Prasad Lodhi from Chitrakoot (Satna district) estimates that the sales of wooden toys have gone up by 20pc-30pc. But the high cost of Doodhi wood has made the business unviable. “In my village the number of families making toys has dipped from 60-70 to 5-6,” he says. Lodhi added that the state government should provide more facilities to toy-makers along the lines of ‘Ek Zila Ek Utpad’ scheme in Uttar Pradesh.
Mukesh Vishwakarma from Budni says that power bills are breaking the back of artisans. “My electricity bill is around Rs 10k per month,” he says.
Vinod Sharma, also from Budni, says that the establishment of a depot by the Madhya Pradesh Handloom and Handicrafts Development Corporation at Budhni has come as a great relief for toy-makers. “Earlier, we had to travel to Bhopal or Indore to buy colours and other raw materials. Now, they are available at a reasonable price in Budhni,” he said.
Sharma said the artisans need training to enable them to make toys which meet international standards. He said that earlier there were around 40-45 shops selling toys at the railway crossing near Budni on the highway leading from Bhopal to Hoshangabad. However, now an overbridge has been constructed there.