Jharsuguda : As the temperature is soaring higher and higher, the demand for the items like Air-conditioned, Coolers etc for keeping the room cool has also been increased but the old traditional and eco-friendly way of cooling the room using Khus Mat curtains locally called as “benacher” is slowly fading away in industrial district Jharsuguda.
Around 100 families who reside at Rajpur area’s Indirawas Colony under Brajrajnagar, and are involved in Khus mat weaving blames the availability of alternative materials, for the slowdown.
Khus, is an aromatic grass, used as a natural cooler. The curtains when sprinkled with water keep the hot winds at bay and the house cool. These screens also add a pleasant aroma to the house.
“Weaving of these curtains is not an easy job. The work requires expertise and precision, which we have learnt from our forefathers. The curtains are priced between Rs. 15 – Rs. 20 per Sq. ft. whereas the cost of one set for the cooler pad is around Rs. 45. We procure these roots of this grass from Tilia area and then we weave it with help of Bamboo stick and plastic strings. But, this year the demand for this has gone down.” said Aswini Majhi, Mat Weaver
“Presently, as the market is flooded with cheaper alternative no one is asking for this, it has affected our earnings. We usually make curtains, mat and cooler pad and sell it to the vendors coming from Raigarh, Sambalpur and Angul,” said Faguni Turi, local Khus mat weaver
“The regular availability of Khus is a challenge. Due to which we prefer ordering wooden flakes or Honeycomb material for the cooler pad, which is readily available and it is cheap too. Said Deepak Didwania owner of Cooler Manufacturer of Jharsuguda.
“The Khus workers cannot compete with the competitive market due to the availability of cheaper alternative materials. How there is no doubt that Khus is not only good for health and but it also has a pleasant natural aroma which you can’t find in any other alternative material. The government should promote and help such people who are keeping this alive. Subsequently, the gases emitted from ACs and coolers are very harmful to our environment. People should be encouraged to use more such eco-friendly methods to beat the heat. ” said environmentalist Prof. Dr Dhruv Raj Naik.