BU sub-region has a number of specialised crafts (such as wood toys and silver fish) for which particular areas are known. While these need to be encouraged and promoted, the livelihood potential is even higher in more routine artisan work such as weaving, oil-milling, carpentry, leather-work etc. Unfortunately all there are in decline, but potential for revival exists. Reviving village artisan work should be emphasised. On the other hand polluting industries which harm farming and water sources should be discouraged. Taking advantage of the proximity of Chanderi and Varanasi weaving centres, both sericulture and weaving based on it can be promoted. Artisan work based on bamboo and trees (such as Khajur) to make utility items like brooms and sieves should get more help. Skill upgradation in this and other such traditional items can lead to new items of production and higher income.

Unfortunately the reverse appears to be the case judging from what we noticed during a recent field-visit to Mahoba district. The famous khadi weaving centre of Jaitpur was in ruin as anti-social elements had captured the co-ordinating unit (Gandhi ashram), milking it for private profits while the livelihood of about 7000 weavers was destroyed. (See Annexure 5) On the other hand near Naugaon, health and livelihoods were being ruined by a liquor factory.

Such a distorted industrial policy should change in favour of environment-friendly, employment intensive work.

At present the BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals) plant in Jhansi appears to be the only major public sector undertaking in this entire region. In Bargarh (district Chitrakut) land was acquired for a major glass unit, based on local silica sand deposits, but the project was never implemented. Thus people lost their land and yet no new employment opportunities were created. If Bargarh glass unit and one or two more major employment intensive public sector undertakings can be taken up, while taking care to minimise social and environmental costs, this will be in keeping with the policy of balanced regional development.