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Natural dyes from NEast emerge as hope for environment
Sep '09
Natural fabric dyes that had been developed centuries ago from plants and minerals by Khasi villagers are now emerging as a hope for Northeastern silk producers as the western countries have imposed ban on harmful synthetic dyed products.

The Umden silk cluster, in Ri Bhoi district and adopted by the Guwahati-based Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE) and supported by the Union Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, was inaugurated recently.

Umden has a potential in natural dyeing of silk yarn, revealed a study undertaken by the IIE and a ban on export of synthetic dyed products has led to an increase in demand for natural dyed goods in worldwide markets.

Natural dyeing has tremendous scope over synthetic colours due to factors, like, eco-friendliness, range of shades, zero pollution problems and is harmless to the human skin.

Colours like black, yellow, red, brown and steel grey can be produced through natural dyeing and can be applied after the yarn has been spun. Three shades such as light, medium and dark can be made for a particular colour. These colours can be prepared from herbs and plants available in the forests.

The products dyed in natural colours enjoy a higher price and contribute towards a eco-friendly and sustainable environment.

There are about 47 active dyers involved in natural dyeing process in the Umden silk cluster that includes 17 villages spread over an area of 12 km.

The IIE will make efforts to provide better technologies to the natural dyeing process, and will also try to augment the demand of these products in domestic as well as overseas markets.

It will also provide assistance in product development and diversification, documentation of the dyeing process, financial and market linkages as well as in setting up a common facility centre, including a dye house.

In addition to this, in order to support the cluster's efforts the government has announced to set up a specific task force.
A cluster development co-ordination committee headed by the deputy commissioner has been formed. The committee members from departments including sericulture, handloom & textiles and DRDA will monitor the activities of the artisans.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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