Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Jan 25:

Odisha’s Raghurajpur, famed for its pattachitra paintings, has been adopted by Bank of India as a ‘digital village’, said the bank’s General Manager SK Agarwal today.

Speaking to reporters, Agarwal explained that as part of a digitisation encouragement programme, the bank has installed 20 Point of Sale (PoS) machines and have opened 200 savings bank accounts in the village.

“This is a step towards encouraging the cashless mode of transaction envisioned by the Union and the State Government. Our officials have done the ground works to train the necessary manpower in dealing with plastic money and have opened hundreds of accounts so that the villagers won’t have to depend on cash,” said Agarwal.

“This feels like a move in the right direction. We faced a severe cash crunch after demonetisation that hit our business hard. The tourists came here, appreciated our work but were unable to buy them as we didn’t have the means to receive payment apart from cash. Now, with PoS machines, things will become easier,” said Jayant Swain, an artisan.

Raghurajpur is a heritage crafts village in Puri district, known for its Pattachitra paintings — an art form dating back to 5 BC, Gotipua dance troupes — the precursor to the Indian classical dance form of Odissi, palm leaf engravings, stone and wood carvings and tussar paintings.

Back in 2000, after a two-year research and documentation project by INTACH, the village was chosen to be developed as state’s first heritage village and developed as a crafts village. Thousands of domestic and internationals visitors throng the village each year.