Dhenkanal: India is a land of opportunities, only if they were made accessible with regulations and policies at their right places in action. A small town it may be, but Dhenkanal sees a big scope in cottage industry, for a town to have been a learned one among others for its indigenous art, craft and natural resources.

The town, for now, has industries which can be counted on just three fingers, namely Shakti sugar mill being one topping the list. However, the District Industry Centre claims to be working towards changing this landscape.  The Industrial Supervisor, P.C. Mishra says that the district has already started two group training for koyer mats with the help from a non-profit organization Swarup Sanjog in Bharpur Road and Bimbalaghatpur.

Entrepreneurship and medium and small scale industries being promoted at the national level, Dhenkanal too sees opportunities in food processing, handicraft sector, and servicing units from mechanical works to services like laundry, pathology, Tyre vulcanizing and book binding.

The food processing sector includes cashew nut processing, mini rice mills, spices and manufacturing of sauce, sugar candies, cattle and poultry feed, noodles, bee keeping & honey processing and so on. The handicraft sector focuses on dhokra casting, brass and bellmetal work, terracotta, metal jewellery, silver filigree, stone carving and works on horn and palm leaf products. The District Industry Centre informs that these sectors are to be worked upon now, and plans are being carved out on to how to help small scale industries grow in these sectors.

As per the newly crafted plan, several programs are to be undertaken like Institutional training, Craft village programme, rehabilitation of handicrafts artisans, marketing & publicity of handicrafts products and finally modernization and technical up-gradation of Handicraft industries.

Mishra tells that the centre is working in giving exposure to the interested groups and people by taking them to visits, constructing work shed-cum house, promoting the sector with the introduction of Handicrafts Award, strengthening of primary handicrafts Co-operative Society and assistance in design development. The district centre is preparing a project report to help in registering industries, and provide help in terms of VAT reimbursement, land, raw material and machinery. Post the registration, the group is given a certificate through which they can avail these facilities.

However, Alok Kumar, manager from one of the leading retail stores in the town says that the supply of even the unpackaged grains or edible foods like dates from local areas is limited, market reach of those areas being very limited.

Overall Odisha, the promotion of handicrafts, cottage industries and stone carving has brought out a fairly positive change—Sambalpuri textile being one of the beneficiaries reckoning its name in other parts of India too. The state’s initiatives are scattered and are to be implemented through regional centres. Dhenkanal has targeted for 3000 units to come up this year, however it doesn’t come without its share of loopholes. The count of the units even includes shops, or enterprises, as small as a betel nut kiosk.  Last year there have been in total around 1500 registrations but only around hundred have been successful even in small scale industries.

The town isn’t dry of opportunities, but of initiatives. Mishra shares that there are few takers for risks to begin bigger enterprises.  Promotion of the schemes now available could strengthen the intensity at which the town can grow.