TPCODL presents a unique Odia identity to its Abha Shakti women

The project aims to bind the SHG women through the pride of owning a uniform that is also a symbol of their deep handloom heritage.

TPCODL presents a unique Odia identity to its Abha Shakti women
TPCODL presents a unique Odia identity to its Abha Shakti women

Bhubaneshwar: TP Central Odisha Distribution Ltd., a joint venture between the Government of Odisha and Tata Power, distributed hand-woven Ikat sarees and specially made Dhokra badges to Abha Shakti members (Women Self Help Group (WSHG), at an event held in Bhubaneshwar on the eve of National Handloom Day.

Honorable Energy Minister, Government of Odisha, Shri Pratap Keshari Deb, was the Chief Guest of the event, also attended by Shri M. Shenbagam, Chief Executive Officer, TPCODL and other senior officials of TPCODL and Tata Power.

The event was organized to recognize the crucial role played by Abha Shaktis who have been trained under the Roshni (Skilling) program of Tata Power, to become social change agents. The women have been provided with livelihood skills through digital tech and knowledge of power Discoms' consumer-centric operation viz Meter reading, Billing, and Collection (MBC) activities enabling them to become self-employed. Extending this effort, the company plans to distribute a total of over 2000 sarees to about 1000 Abha Shaktis in the coming days.

The project aims to bind the SHG women through the pride of owning a uniform that is also a symbol of their deep handloom heritage. This initiative reaffirms Tata Power's long-standing commitment to the state and its people, by reviving the cultural heritage, involving the communities, with focus on community empowerment. Tata Power hopes that more and more corporations will join the larger movement to promote native handloom.

Speaking at the event, Shri Pratap Keshari Deb, Hon’ble Minister, Energy Department, Government of Odisha said, “The growth of native Self-Help Groups is crucial to the nation's development and women empowerment. I am glad that TPCODL is partnering with the Government of Odisha to foster women empowerment while promoting our heritage. This unique initiative by Tata Power and Tata Trust will set an example for Corporate India to partner with grass root communities, while embracing regional culture, leading to holistic development"

The bespoke sarees designed by upcoming young native designer, also has elements inspired by Odisha's culture like Konark Wheel and the domestic hand-made designs used in rural house-holds during Lakshmi Puja.  The sarees aptly showcase the unique craftsmanship of local handloom weavers of the State, and were made to order for Abha Shakti members from local weaver clusters from Maniabandh (Cuttack), Gopalpur (Ganjam), and Khurda. A total value chain of over 6100 families, directly and indirectly, benefitted through the entire program apart from the Abha Shakti members who will receive two sarees per person, making this a unique collaborative handloom project involving public-private partnership.

Essentially a Tata Affirmative Action project, this handloom saree promotion initiative is aimed at empowering underserved weaver communities of the state and is also the company's tribute and humble contribution to the larger agendas 'Make in India' and 'Make in Odisha' while endorsing its rich culture & heritage.

Mr. M. Shenbagam, Chief Executive Officer, TP Central Odisha Distribution Ltd. said, “Our Abha Shakti members act as change agents, inspiring communities while contributing to TPCODL's social development agenda. To recognize our proud association, we have crafted this new identity for them, which is an amalgamation of traditional Odia craftsmanship and new-age techniques, promoting native culture. We hope they wear this new identity with the same pride, which we carry in our partnership with them. This initiative is also a testament to our motto 'With You, For You, Always', nurturing the native heritage along with the best of customer service. We are also grateful to the Odisha Government for their support and encouragement for this initiative"

In addition to sarees, the handmade Dhokra art badges were also presented to the Abha Shakti members. These badges are made of non-ferrous metal casting that has been traditionally used in India for over 4,000 years. 100 village artisans from a social enterprise crafted the badges for Abha Shaktis.

Mr. Sanjay Banga, President T&D, Tata Power said, “Tata Power has always focused on women empowerment and social entrepreneurship as thrust areas under its CSR philosophy. In alignment with UN SDGs, our efforts are designed towards accelerating holistic sustainable development, while promoting and conserving regional heritage. In line with this vision, it is an honor for us to present these powerful women with native handloom sarees across Odisha discoms, which will not just be a symbol of Odisha’s exceptional handloom talent, but also a testament to our valued association with them.”

In coming days, these sarees will be distributed and extended to other 3 discoms across Odisha. In addition to the Odisha-centric efforts, Tata Power also promotes region-specific hand-made products through its Anokha Dhaaga initiative made by grassroot communities of Delhi, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.