India is the second largest producer of silk in the world. It produces four types of silk - Mulberry, Tasar, Eri & Muga. Jharkhand is the leading producer of Tasar silk in the country. We produced 2004 M.T. Tasar silk in the year 2013-14, for which we got an apreciation letter by member secretary, Central Silk Board. Tasar silk is mainly reared in the forests on Arjuna and Asan trees. The dominant ecorace is DABA. We are also rearing DABA on Sidha trees.
In addition to DABA, we have started eco-conservation of Laria ecorace. It is mainly reared on Sal trees which are in abundance in the forests. The technology for ecorace conservation has been developed with the technical support of Central Tasar Research & Training Institute (CTR&TI) Nagri, Ranchi.
We have got our Tasar Silk Certified as Organic by an International agency, One Cert USA. Today, we are the sole supplier of certified Organic Tasar Silk in the world. We have planned to achieve a production of 8000 M.T. of Tasar Silk by the end of Xllth plan.
Realising this potential of silk production in the state, various policy decisions were framed, which are as under:-
RESHAM DOOT PROJECT
This is an important policy decision which aims to strengthen the seed sector by organising rearers in group. This has also changed the role of the department from implementor to facilitator. By introduction of this concept, quality seed production has increased by 15 times.
Farmers were organised into a group of 23-25. The structure of the group is as follows:-
Resham doot - 1 (Group Leader)
Basic Seed Rearers - 2
Commercial Seed Rearers - 20-22
The Group Leader or the Resham Doot along with the Basic seed rearers are trained to convert Basic seed to Commercial seeds and are provided training and necessary rearing equipments. Each group is provided with 600 Basic seeds from which the Resham doot and Basic seed rearers produce 4000-5000 Commercial seeds. These Commercial seeds are then provided to the Commercial rearers at the rate 200 DFLs per farmer.
Some of the results are listed as below from the introduction of this Project:-
Basic seed: Commercial seed ratio has increased from averag J ratio of 1:4 to 1:15.
Commercial seed: Commercial Cocoon ratio has increased from the average ratio of 1:15 to 1:80. Some Rearers have also attained the ratio of 1:120 due to their efforts and hard work.
The income of the farmers has increased from Rs. 4,000-5,000 to Rs. 35,000- 40,000 in a rearing season of 45-50 days.
The migration for new job opportunities has reduced. The people who had migrated to other states are also now coming back to their villages.
Farmers have started to send their children to schools.
Along with the basic needs various other needs are fulfilled. People have invested into Motor Cycles, Power Tiller, Mobiles, Buildings & Property etc.
This has resulted in the development & upraise of self confidence.
The farmers do not get affected even in the drought as they now have other source of livelihood.
NUCLEUS SEED PROJECT
The second important policy decision taken by the state government was Nucleus seed project. To provide sufficient quantity for quality Commercial seed, it was realised that the state required 20-22 Lakhs Basic seeds from BTSSO (Basic Tasar Silkworm Seed Organisation). When it was written to the Director of BTSSO in the year 2007 to provide the required quantity of 20 lakhjs Basic seeds. they replied that "BTSSO develops only 19 Lakhs Basic seeds to fulfil the requirement of ten different states, hence, it was not possible to meet; this requirement and only 2.5-3 lakhs basic seeds can be provided to Jharkhand state".
It was then decided to put the foundation of Nucleus Seed Project. During that time, the basic structure of PPCs were weak, neither did they have Grainage houses nor, Administrative buildings. In 2007, with the help of Forest Department, 67 Grainage houses were constructed and Nucleus Seed project was started. Hence, a new revolution in this sector was started with the collaboration of two different departments, namely, Industry Department & Forest Department.
Nucleus seeds are reared in the month of September-October to make Basic seeds from Nucleus seed. The Nucleus seed cocoon, obtained from the process, is stored in the Grainage houses between November to July of the following year in a particular temperature and humidity throughout the period. After completion of eight months the Silk moth comes out of the Nucleus seed cocoons for the laying. These eggs are supplied to the "Resham Doot" as Basic Seeds for rearing.
At present, 10-12 lakhs Basic seeds are being prepared by the PPCs.
ELITE SEED PROJECT
The state government of Jharkhand took another important decision in the year 2010. Two Elite seed stations were established in the state with the support of the Central Silk Board, one in Chakradharpur and another in Dumka.
It was the outcome of the Policies of the state government that our state has become self dependent for the Commercial seeds. We are also providing support to our neighbouring states in this sector.
The quality of spun yam has improved in last five years. Fabric made from this yarn is also known as "Ahinsa Silk".
Gheecha Yarn - This is another type of yam which is produced from cut cocoons, rat cut cocoon, pierced cocoon. It has got a very good market.
Baikal Yarn - This is the yarn which is produced from the peduncle of cocoons.
Jharcraft developed a technology for processing of silk waste. We are supplying processed silk waste to a buyer from Germany.
Jharcraft is also developing technology for the extraction of "sericin" from silk waste. Sericin has a good National and International Market. Sericin has good use in cosmetics and medicines. These efforts will increase the income of women groups who are engaged in reeling and spinning of cocoons.
SILK & COTTON HANDLOOM - WEAVING A PHOENIX
We have revived handloom sector after a gap of 12 years. Before our intervention, the weavers were making grey fabric of coarse count. Today, they are weaving fine count yarn as 80s, 100s, etc. They are using 100 & 120 reeds. We have introduced dobby and jacquard for the first time in the state. Now, designer sarees and fabric are being weaved on these looms. We are also doing research to improve the quality of looms. The income of weavers has gone up from Rs 1,500-2,000/- per month to Rs 6,000 - 8,000/-per month.
Women in large numbers are joining this activity. People from non-weaving communities and younger generations are also joining this profession in large numbers.
Jharcraft took the initiative to establish first, state of the art, computerised apparel unit at Ranchi. This is run by a private firm - Craftedge Apparels.
Now with the help of AEPC and ATDC Ranchi, three more production units have been established.
One of our partners NGO-ES AF, has established one unit at Dumka district.
Our state was known as the Tasar Cocoon producer. The conversion of Yarn from cocoon was done on a very small scale. In the 11th five year plan, projects were made and implemented in phases for attainment of a positive result. Establishment of "Aakarshani"- Resham Training Institute, Kharsawan, was a major and positive phase in this sector. With the help of NIFT Kolkata, this training institute was started in April 2006. Women were trained in groups of 30 each for reeling and spinning of Yarn from Tasar cocoons. After training, various Common Facility Centres (CFCs) were established in the villages for this process. Work-sheds were established in the villages for the women in an area of 1,000 sq.ft.. The same machines were installed on which the women were trained. 17 Cocoon banks were also constructed in the state to fulfil the cocoon requirement of these CFCs which are administered by Jharcraft. Jharcraft also provides marketing support for the products of the CFCs. Around 16,000 women are associated with this activity at present who earn an average income of Rs. 6,000 to 12,000/- per month.
The yarn is woven into fabric and used after dyeing and bleaching for stitching readymade apparals. Other value additions also provide livelihood opportunities to many artisans. Tasar silk is produced in the districts of Singhbhum (West), Saraikela, Singhbhum (East), Dumka, Pakur, Godda, Sahebganj, Dhanbad, Giridih, Latehar, Palamau, Garhwa & Simdega.
Mulberry silk is produced by the "Bombyx mori". These silk worms are reared indoors on the plucked leaves of Mulberry plants. Mulberry silk is majorly produced in the Latehar, Gumla, Ranchi, Khunti, Pakur & Sahebganj districts of the state. The quantity of production is very low in the state. Projects have been formulated for raising the production of the Mulberry silk in the state.
Reeling is a process of obtaining fine quality yarn from Tasar cocoon. We started conversion of cocoon into reeled yarn with the help of reeling-cum-twisting machine, developed by CSTRI Bangalore. L Although the quality of reeled yam is good for warp, the production is low.
Then, we introduced Twin Charkha for making untwisted reeled yarn. CSTRI Bangalore also developed wet reeling machine in line with machines used in mulberry. But, this needs water at 40 degree C -45 degree C for which Boiler is a must.
Jharcraft started developing its own machine and finally in 2011, we developed solar powered reeling machines "Samriddhi" with the help of an agency DevNrgee which is formed by professional engineers. We got it patented and have supplied more than 5000 machines in the field. This is a compact machine and has reduced the drudgery faced by women reelers. The R&D work by Jharcraft is still going on.