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Padma Shri Awardee Applauds Varanasi's Wooden Toy Industry Surpassing Rs 40 Crore Mark

Godavari Singh, a well-known artisan, and recipient of the Padma Shri award, emphasized the extensive historical origins of Varanasi's wooden toy sector, tracing its origins back millennia. This sector provides significant employment opportunities for numerous craftsmen. Previously facing near collapse, the wooden toy sector in Varanasi is now experiencing substantial expansion. Generating an annual revenue of around Rs 45 […]

Godavari Singh, a well-known artisan, and recipient of the Padma Shri award, emphasized the extensive historical origins of Varanasi's wooden toy sector, tracing its origins back millennia. This sector provides significant employment opportunities for numerous craftsmen.

Previously facing near collapse, the wooden toy sector in Varanasi is now experiencing substantial expansion. Generating an annual revenue of around Rs 45 crore, this industry has become a significant source of employment, particularly for women, and is enhancing households globally with its intricately designed toys and decorative pieces.

Singh said, “Nearly thousands of people are involved in it. Its publicity has increased, sales have increased, and the turnover of this business is about Rs 40 crore in a year. We have exporters from Mumbai, Delhi, Madras and Varanasi. They take these wooden toys and decorative items to all places including Canada, France, America, and Japan. Now it has gone online, this business has increased due to going online, there is some problem at the moment because eucalyptus wood is not available. Those who make ply are taking away the wood, so we are not able to get the eucalyptus wood.”

Krishna Gupta, a youthful entrepreneur in the wooden toy industry, recognized the historical roots of the business and the evolution it has experienced. He attributed the industry's enhanced reputation to the Geographical Indication (GI) tag acquired as part of Modi's initiative.

“We do the business of wooden toys. This has been going on since ancient times. Many items were made in it. There have been changes in it over time. Children's toys and other items are available all over the world. Propaganda happened after the Modi ji initiative, this business got a GI tag. Krishna said that there are some facilities required due to which we are not able to expand our business much like weavers get electricity facility, we do not have that facility and there are some middlemen because of them we face problems, we are also struggling for this,” Gupta said.

He emphasized three primary categories of work within the wooden toy industry: wood carving, sculpture, and general woodworking. The business has experienced substantial growth due to enhanced visibility and online sales, leading to increased exports to markets like Canada, France, the United States, and Japan.

Local businessmen advocate for electricity at weavers' rates, access to mill and eucalyptus saplings, and addressing health risks from wood dust exposure. Meeting these needs can bolster Varanasi's wooden toy industry, preserving its heritage and fostering growth.

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Godavari SinghTDGThe Daily GaurdianVaranasiWooden Toy Industry