Located at Hatisil in South West Garo Hills and covering an area of 45,000 sq feet, the apparel factory was originally set up at a cost of Rs. 14.26 crore by the Union Ministry of Textiles. But it remained idle for nearly two years as the agencies that the unit was allocated to failed to meet their commitment to start production, the official said. The centre was made operational after the School of Livelihood and Rural Development (SLRD) took over the centre in September this year.
The SLRD is a development agency with operations across four regions of the country and has expertise in skill development, market integration and rural development. Production work has finally begun and will be ramped up in stages to meet the market demand in India and Bangladesh, the official said. “The centre has the required infrastructure to initiate manufacturing activities for apparel and accessories which will link with our other interventions in weaving and embroidery. The entire activity was initiated to ensure sustained livelihoods on an industrial scale,” SLRD mission director Abhijit Sharma said.
The apparel manufacturing unit is expected to provide direct and indirect employment opportunities to 1,500 people of the region, the official said. Often, skill development initiatives do not result in sustained livelihoods due to absence of a market-linked approach, monotonous products and uncompetitive pricing, Sharma said.
The centre was inaugurated last year by Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani in the presence of former chief minister Mukul Sangma besides Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju. The unit was set up under the North East Region Textiles Promotion Scheme (NERTPS), an umbrella scheme for the development of various segments of textiles such as silk, handloom, handicrafts, apparels and garments. The sprawling centre has three units, two of them housing 105 sewing machines each, and the third one having 70 machines. Not only skilled individuals would be required to operate the machinery but also people for various aspects of production, packaging, and market linked activities, he said.