Assam silk has tremendous potential to make inroads into national and international markets, stated foreign and national experts at the Guwahati Press Club here today.

Dr Ole Zethner and Rie Koustrup from Denmark, who have jointly edited a book titled South Asian Ways of Silk, to which 12 writers and experts from India and abroad have contributed, said Assam silk has tremendous potential to become a major raw material for world class products.

Dr Ole Zethner is an entomologist, while Rie Koustrup is a language teacher. Their book, published by the city-based firm, Book Bell, will be released at a function at the Agriculture and Forestry University, Nepal, shortly.

They expressed the hope that eri would become a much sought-after item for manufacturing soft-cloth apparels, particularly for babies. It has also the potential to become a popular bed linen in cold-weather countries, they said.

On muga, they said that there should be a serious campaign to save this exotic silk unique to Assam. Campaigns like conservation initiatives launched to protect the tiger and the one-horned rhino, should be launched in this regard.

Bodoland Regional Apex Federation (BRAFED) Managing Director Rana Patgiri called for overcoming the challenges posed by multinational contenders, like Wal-Mart, Marks & Spencer, IKEA, etc., to maintain the indigenous silk industry as a vibrant entity.

The Deputy Director of the Indian Institute of Handloom Technology, OP Kotnala praised the exotic nature of the indigenous fabric designs of the NE region and said that they have the potential to occupy the markets in developed countries.

Dhiraj Thakuria, Managing Director, Purbashree, suggested a methodical approach towards developing the indigenous silk industry of the NE region so that it can show a significant improvement in quality and become popular in foreign markets, where buyers are very sensitive.

Dilip Barooah of the city-based silk industrial unit, Fabric Plus, who has also contributed to the book edited by Dr Ole Zethner and Rie Koustrup, stressed the need of a collective move to expand the scope of the NE silk industry so that it can go for product diversification and make successful inroads into national and international markets.

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