Bishunpur: Creating a model for self-sufficient rural economic enterprise, an NGO runs a workshop which provides direct employment to 700 people at Bishunpur in Gumla district, about 120 km from Ranchi.
Vikas Bharati, the NGO, trains people in making figurines and statues made of earth, bitumen and powder of seeds of a plant.
Septuagenarian siblings Sibal Malar and Udal Malar are among 200 workers at Vikas Bharati, fondly called `ashram` by the workers, painstakingly make statues which are in great demand, Mahendra Bhagat, the treasurer of the NGO, said.
Pailas, the unique weight system prevailed during the primitive period, are also made by them. These are silver-quoted bowls made of earth and other substances weighing 250 grams, 500 grams and one kg, which are still prevalent among the tribals, using them for selling grains and lentils.
Bhagat says that new batches are introduced every three weeks, but a few like the Malars are a permanent feature in the institution.
The NGO has also engaged men in the age-old method of extracting and processing iron.
“They (workmen) are learning the ways to assemble two slugs (pieces of iron weighing 250 grams) and in the process preserving an age old tradition of extracting as well as processing iron from the ore through the traditional method,” Pankaj K Singh, the engineer working with the NGO, said.
The men are trained to make rust-resistant replicas of statutes out of these slugs, Singh said adding they have received an order to make one lakh statues from the iron slugs.