To meet the growing demand of face masks across the country, Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has developed double layered khadi masks and has procured orders for supplying it in large quantities.
Not only this, the commission is committed to enhancing livelihood opportunities to the khadi artisans at a time when coronavirus pandemic has hit employment across the country.
These masks are made of hand-spun, hand-woven khadi fabric which is breathable, reusable, washable and biodegradable.
In a press statement, KVIC Chairman V.K. Saxena said that "KVIC is specifically using double twisted khadi fabric for manufacturing these masks as it helps retain 70% of the moisture content inside, while providing an easy passage of air, proving to be the best easily available, pocket-friendly alternative face masks."
The KVIC has recently bagged an order to supply 7.5 Lakh pieces of khadi masks to Jammu & Kashmir government alone in which 5 lakh masks will be supplied to Jammu district, one lakh forty thousand to Pulwama district, one lakh to Udhampur district and 10,000 to Kupwara district.
These masks will be supplied to the Assistant Development Commissioners of these districts by April 20. Currently, the Khadi Stitching Center at Nagrota near Jammu has been turned into a mask stitching centre, which is producing 10,000 masks per day, while the rest of the orders are being distributed among various Self Help Groups (SHGs) and khadi institutions in and around Srinagar.
Saxena said, "In one meter Khadi fabric, 10 double layered masks will be made. In order to make 7.5 lakh masks, around 75,000 meters of Khadi fabric will be used. This will further enhance livelihood opportunities to the Khadi artisans. Since J&K khadi institutions are producing only woollen fabric, cotton fabric for masks is procured from Haryana and UP khadi institutions and being dispatched by taking special permission from the district authorities."
Meanwhile, to support the local administration across the country, an appeal has been issued by Saxena to all khadi institutions to provide at least 500 masks free to the District Collectors of their respective districts for further use and circulation.
The KVIC has 2,400 active khadi institutions and this action alone will provide 12 lakh masks across the country. After the appeal, many khadi institutions have started providing 500 masks to ADCs.
"Face Masks are the most critical tools to fight the corona spread. These masks prepared from DT fabric are India's only solution that can meet the quality and scale of demand while precisely matching medical guidelines," said Saxena.
Speaking about the role of Khadi in recent times, he said: "Khadi has always been a badge of honour for every Indian and it continues to be so, however turbulent and disturbing the times may be. The whole world is shut down, yet khadi has been able to extend its support to the rural artisans of India, which in itself is historic."