May 142008

 *Arts and crafts village to complete in July
* Likely to be inaugurated on August 14

By Imran Naeem Ahmad

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad is slowly transforming from a once sleepy town to one that has plenty to offer to its residents and visitors and with the completion this July of an Arts and Crafts Village, the Capital’s map of attractions is set to extend further.

In the vicinity of the Rose and Jasmine Garden, the village looks certain to be a crowd-puller and should draw in not just the locals but also foreigners, so believe the officials associated with the project.

With plans to bring in artisans from all over the country to actually stay, work, and show their skills on the premises, the Rs 180-million facility is already being dubbed as “Little Pakistan” in Islamabad’s very own backyard.

“We initially selected 100 craftspeople out of which we now intend to shortlist 40 who would be given the opportunity to display their immense potential and qualities before an appreciative audience while also making money,” said Project Director Sanaullah Aman.

A project of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), the Arts and Craft Village is likely to be inaugurated on August 14. So far, officials said as much as 75 percent of the work had been completed.

Among the facilities that have come up are the food courts, shop clusters, artist studios and a design centre while an administration block is also almost ready. “The food courts would serve mainly regional food so that the visitors can have a real taste of Pakistan,” said Aman.

In order to run the village in a befitting manner and to avoid middlemen, the authorities plan to replace one group of artisans with the other, most likely every two months. “This step is precisely because we do not want these craftspeople being exploited by any middlemen and also to give a chance to maximum number of people,” said the official.

The artisans who will be brought here would work in front of the visitors at their shops. “There will be six clusters of shops with each having five outlets where the artisans will put up their products for display and also be able to sell them,” he said.

The project covers an area of 17 acres and work on it began in September 2006. It was initially to be established at Saidpur Village but was moved to its current location after it was suggested that it would be more appropriate there considering the convenience of the public.

The cost of the project officials said has gone up somewhat as a result of the site having been moved and also because of stricter building codes put in place after the October 2005 earthquake.

“The aim of establishing the village is to preserve traditional craft and to make craft-based projects more marketable,” Aman said adding the village would showcase the talents of Pakistani craftsmen and provide visitors a snapshot of the country’s cultural diversity.

The Arts and Craft Village will be the eighth attraction in the vicinity after the Museum of Natural History, Lok Virsa Museum, Shakarparian, Pakistan Monument, Lotus Lake, Rose and Jasmine Garden and Crescent and Star.

Courtesy: Daily Times, 14/5/2008

 Posted by at 3:17 pm

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