Moradabad’s Metallic Craft Business: Changing Prospects of Peetal Nagri

The changing prospects of metallic or brass crafts are making the artists anxious about the future. The local authorities have raised serious concerns about its production units by labelling them as highly polluting. The authorities have asked to relocate and even shift to different methods of metallic production.

Moradabad was famously India’s metallic craft city, or ‘peetal nagri’. But now the locals are expressing their uneasiness towards the changing scenario and increasingly bleak future.

No wonder this famous metallic city has been part of the Union as well as the UP government’s flagship called ‘one district, one product’. This has led to a decline in the demand for metal in the city.

As per the members of the city’s Metal Manufacturers Association, the metal industry is worth around Rs. 8000–Rs. 9000 Cr. However, till 2008–2009, it was around Rs. 20, 000 crores. Also, a former member of the All India Handicrafts Board stressed the fact that a decline in the metal business has negatively affected its international demand. He even pointed out that more than 50% of metallic manufacturing units as well as 25–30% of export units have closed in one decade.

Also, demonetization, GST, and the high cost of raw materials and coal have forced people to migrate. Metal is known to make up around 20–25% of the entire industry in Moradabad. Whereas, aluminium has taken over around 70% of the entire city’s industry.

The metallic crafting business involves three stages, which include casting, engraving, and polishing the metal with the help of artisans. The other important players in this industry are manufacturers and exporters. However, the divide between the three stages has increased over the years.

In Moradabad’s metallic craft business, wages and profits have decreased. The latent effects of communalism have severely destroyed this industry. No wonder; the city is known to have been part of UP’s earliest communal riots in the 1980s. This has also affected the growth of the metallic business in the city. The communal violence led to a sudden fall in the production and export of metallic crafts.

There is no state support for this industry. Moreover, the loss of artisan cards can also be seen. The metallic craft business in the city has become unsustainable. There have been many changes made to help this industry by the Adityanath government. For instance, the Metal Handicrafts Service Center was launched in 1983 in the city, but in 2022 it re-launched.

This industry in Moradabad is declining, and many metals workers are being forced to leave this work.

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