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Mamata suggests pillow, blanket industry using Kans grass

Kolkata, Nov 18 (IANS) After sweetmeat and 'telebaja' (crunchy fritters quoted in corn-flour) industry, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday suggested pillow and blanket curved out of Kans grass (a kind of white flower that blooms during Autumn in Bengal).

During an administrative meeting in Howrah, she also directed the district administration to start a duck feather project to further facilitate the shuttlecock industry.

"Kash phool (Kans grass) is abundant in Howrah as well as in rural Bengal. If we can preserve these natural objects, which can be used effectively to manufacture pillows and blankets. It is expensive, but there is a market. We can also export these things," Banerjee said.

She also asked the MSME department to work on this so that it can become an effective way of business.

The Chief Minister asked the district administration to promote local trade effectively. Representatives of the Howrah Chamber of Commerce then said that shuttlecock is a very popular industry in Howrah, but there is a dearth of duck feather which is an important component for manufacturing shuttlecocks.

The Chief Minister then asked the Secretary in MSME department, Vivek Kumar, to develop duck poultry so that there is no dearth of supply of feathers.

"We have already started two duck poultries at Sitampur and Kushambi in Birbhum and another at Kalyani in Nadia. We will develop more poultries so that there is adequate supply of feathers for shuttlecock manufacturing," an official in the MSME department said.

Banerjee then jokingly said, "Ask the self-help groups to collect feathers and create a steady supply chain. Just like 'Duare Sarkar' (government at doorstep), we will now have 'Duare Palok' (feather at doorstep)."

The Chief Minister also said that Rs 20.48 crore has been invested in Howrah in the last two years, besides the creation of over 1,16,000 jobs.

Another Rs 10,460 crore will be invested and 1,56,000 job opportunities will be created, she said.