Meenakari refers to traditional gemstone work, used in the making of various items, particularly jewellery. The units in the industry largely manufacture jewellery, showpieces and decorative items in metal.
Varanasi has over a 100 micro units producing these products. These units together employ about 1,300 people, and have a collective annual turnover of over Rs.50 lakh.
“The traders in Varanasi have captured the entire market. They buy the products from us at low rates, and then sell them at higher rates. Only these traders earn major margins from the sales, while the manufacturers are in dire straits,” said Ramneesh Kumar, a Meenakari artisan.
“The manufacturers in the industry are not getting proper exposure to the market, and do not have sufficient information about market prices,” he said.
“There is a lack of confidence among the manufacturers here, as they think they are unable to manufacture products with modern designs,” saidShivprasad, another manufacturer in the industry.
“There is also a lack of technical support to the industry. Moreover, the industrialists are not taking any initiative to build a brand image,” Shivprasad said.
“There should be an association to deal with the problems of industrialists,” Shivprasad said.