(News) Orcha Women Produce Geo-friendly Paper

Orcha Women Produce Geo-friendly Paper

Orcha Women Produce Geo-friendly Paper   [ 2008-1-11 ]

I enjoy working here; I earn at least Rs.75 a day to support my children studies," Ram Kumari Kewar said while rubbing a piece of wood on a wet bundle of yellow substance at Tara Centre, in Orcha, Madhya Pradesh, India.

Like Kebar 44 other tribal women are employed in the Tara Centre that produces geo-friendly hand-made paper. These women, many of who are illiterate and from poor families, work in Tara Centre from 8:00 in the morning to 17:00 in the afternoon.

Before this centre was established, all of us were jobless, but now we are working here happily," said Mira Bai, another woman.

Bai and her husband have been working in Tara Centre since its establishment in 1996. They have three sons and all of them attend schools and the couple earn money to meet their daily expenses plus the school fees of their children by working in the centre.

Interestingly, women workers outnumber men in the Tara Centre.

Located near the famous ancient capital of Bundhelkhand, some 16 kilometres away from Jhansi, the Tara Gram is one of the important project sites of the region worth to visit.

Many tourists visit Orcha to view the huge palaces and temples built there between 16th and 18th century.

Orcha was established in the 16th century by the Bundela Rajput chieftain Rudra Pratap. Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo, one of the succeeding rulers, built the elegant Jehangir Mahal as a present to welcome Mughal emperor Jehangir when he paid a state visit in the 17th century. The Ram Raja Temple, Laxmi Narayan Temple, Sheesh Mahal, Phool Bagh that stand elegantly on the bank of Betwa river are other major tourist attractions of Orcha. Presence of standard resorts with all needed facilities have helped turn Orcha into a famous resort site of Madhya Pradesh.

Many tourists, who reach there, happen to observe Tara Gram, located about four kilometers from the historical site on the way back to Jhansi. This scribe had reached there along with other 23 Asian and African journalists in October last year.

Come to the Tara Centre again. �Your dream, our goals," reads the green signboard at the main entrance of the project site. When you enter from the gate, first you see some sheds there. As you go ahead, people especially, women can be seen separating small pieces of cotton from sacks on the basis of their colours. They put black pieces in one sack, red in another, yellow yet in another and so on. And the pieces are the left-over after the tailors sew clothes. Knowing that the Orcha women make paper out of the cotton pieces, I realized that how we throw such pieces as waste. In Kathmandu and other urban areas, such cotton pieces are important sources of pollution. If we also made papers by collecting the cotton pieces from across the country, we would be contributing not only to reduce the import of paper but also to preserve the Lokta, the plant from which the local papers are being produced.

After the separation, the selected pieces are poured into big-drum like pots inside the factory. The black pieces are put in one drum and red in another and so on. Now the machine crush them and turn them into liquid in the manner we churn out butter from yoghurt. The black pieces produce black substance, the red red and so on. From the first drum the liquid is automatically transformed into the second, from which it is transformed into small drums in the next room. The women then give shape of paper to the liquid by robbing it on the bundle of paper-like things.

Once the wet shape is created, it is sent to the drying room. All workers in the drying room are women. From the drying room, it goes to the cutting room where you can find paper of different sizes, shapes and colours. Black pieces of cotton produce black paper, red pieces produce red, yellow pieces yellow and so on. Mostly, paper produced in this manner is useful for drawing.
However, the Orcha women also produce albums, diaries and items of decoration from the paper. Most of the paper produced in Tara Gram are supplied to other parts of India and abroad.

All the cotton pieces used in the paper making are brought from Southern India.

Most of the workers have started working in the project since its establishment in 1996.

This has made our life easier. We are getting not only jobs but also contributing in preserving environment," said Khaleda Khan, one of the women workers.


Courtesy : Gorkhapatra.org.np