Make hay while the sun shines, so goes the popular adage.
In a year that follows the COVID-19-induced recession, the Kerala Khadi and Village Industries Board has taken it upon itself to go by this traditional piece of wisdom and make most of the upcoming Assembly election in the State.
Taking into account the ban on the use of plastic materials in poll campaign, the organisation has now entered into the business of election merchandise with hand-woven garlands made of Khadi yarns.
To begin with, the board has rolled out one lakh pieces of the product and will be churning out more based on requirement. The garlands, available in different set of colours to match the party flags, are priced between ₹100–250 per piece, based on thickness.
“They come in different colour patterns; red for the left parties, tri-colour for the Congress, red and white for the Kerala Congress, green for the IUML, and saffron for the BJP,” said T.V. Baby, member, KKVIB.
According to him, the current stock of garlands are expected to be sold out completely in a few weeks as the election frenzy sets in. “Orders are likely to start flooding in once parties finalise candidates,” he said.
According to K.N. Unnikrishnan Nair, project Officer, KKVIB, job creation for workers under the board had emerged as one of the biggest issues in the post-pandemic period.
“Product diversification is crucial in reviving the business and ensuring regular income to the workers, who are mostly women. Tapping the election campaigns, which usually are colourful affairs, constitutes a crucial part of this revival plan,” the official said.
Presently, the Board’s weaving units at Udayanapuram and Pambadi in Kottayam are engaged in the production of eco-friendly garlands.
At a brief function held in Kottayam on Tuesday, KKVIB vice-chairperson Sobhana George carried out the product’s official launch by handing over the first set of garlands to the CPI(M) Kottayam district committee. The set comprising 250 pieces were churned out by a group of women workers at the weaving unit in Udayanapuram, near Vaikom.