Airlines, Railways To Go Khadi Way
After bagging an order to supply travel kits worth Rs 1.25 crore to business class travellers of Air India, Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) would now dress up cabin crew of the Prime Minister’s flight, the Air India One. While female cabin crew of the VVIP flights that carry the prime minister of the country on international tours will wear khadi silk sarees, male crew will sport khadi silk jackets, a top officials of the khadi commission said.
This order for 150 silk sarees, 25 Johpuri bandh gala coats, 40 trousers and 40 jackets is estimated at over Rs 9 lakh. Vinai Kumar Saxena, chairman of the commission, said Air India chairman and managing director Ashwani Lohani has also promised to “consider adoption of khadi products for executive class in all its flights”.
KVIC has initiated talks with private airlines, too, for similar associations as it is chasing an aggressive turnover target of Rs 2,000 crore in the next fiscal, up from Rs 1,100 crore. It has rolled out several new products including khadi burqas, wedding collections and even khadi napkins. Handknitted by some 227 women of militancy-affected families in Jammu and Kashmir, khadi napkins have attracted some bulk orders from corporates for gifting purposes.
KVIC has delivered an order of 600 napkins to State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur last month and is in talks with several five-star hotels for the product. It has also initiated talks with Indian Railways. “The railways use 3.5 lakh napkin everyday with only 60 per cent recovery and each of the napkins cost them Rs 20 and go for wash thrice that cost Rs 5 every time. We are negotiating with the railway to replace these with our khadi napkins that would cost between Rs 8-10 and can be given away to the customers,” Saxena said. With fashion designer Ritu Beri coming on board to promote khadi, Saxena want to take Khadi to the international level with a line of luxury clothing.
The commission is also looking at international foray by opening stores in countries such as the UK, US and Iran through a partnership with State Trading Corporation of India. It will also take franchisee route to expand reach. “We have already identified 10 players to start of our franchise stores soon,” Saxena added.