The Rural Technology Action Group (RuTAG) of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Madras has set up a centre to train and upgrade skills of potters in Tamil Nadu to meet contemporary market demands such as producing microwaveable cooking utensils and export quality products.
A Common Facility Centre has been established to train traditional potters of Perumudivakkam village of Tiruvallur District, 50 km from Chennai. Training is being offered to make diversified microwaveable clay products, artistic products, cooking utensils and storage containers, which have higher market value and could help sustain the business of potters.
“Many traditional potters’ families are economically poor and living below poverty line. To increase the earning of the artisans, modern machinery is introduced alongside additional skill and product training to improve not only the productivity but also the wages of the artisans,” said an official communication from the premier institute.
This initiative has been funded with CSR support from the Southern Region Pipelines Division of Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL-SRPL), and Centre for Social Development (CSD), a Nagercoil-based non-governmental organization as the implementation partner at Tiruvallur. Moreover IIT Madras has collaborated with Central Glass and Ceramic Institute (CGCRI), Kolkata, to leverage technology to train the potters.
Prof Abhijit P Deshpande, Professor-in-Charge, RuTAG-IIT Madras, said, “Technology development within an institute has to be followed up with a multi-stakeholder initiative. In this respect, RuTAG has coordinated with CGCRI, CSD, IOCL, government agencies and local artisans to bring forth the benefits in a shared setup. For follow-up technology activity, we always strive to identify the needs of artisans in terms of technological solutions. Once identified, these needs can be conveyed to faculty/students to carry out further technology development.”
The Common Facility Centre was inaugurated on August 11, and is envisaged to stimulate a threefold increase in potter’s income, increased product value by adopting integrated pottery technologies, production of export quality products and better entrepreneurial avenues.
Thus far, 82 persons have been trained at this centre.