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Devangapuram handloom losing grounds over competition from powerloom

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2014-09-12 11:00:00 – Palakkad

The weavers of Devangapuram, near Chittur, are on the verge of extinction due to poor marketing of the product and tough competition from powerlooms who can sell their produce at cheaper rates. Devangapuram Handloom Weavers Society is the lone body that is engaged in weaving work in the village.

But, the Handloom Society in Devangapuram due to cash crunch it undertakes only small weaving works such as ‘set mundu’ and other items, mainly to cater to the festival season.

The weavers are offered daily pay package of Rs.70 by the society which provides them with raw materials like thread and ‘paavu’ (bundle of white cotton thread).

Until a decade ago, there were around 400 weaver families, but now only around 130 families depend on weaving for their livelihood. The 130 families depend on traders and textile showrooms which supply the materials and they buy back the finished product. Each weaver is paid around Rs.250 a day.

Of late, children of handloom weavers are closing down their looms to take up jobs under the MNREGS programme or construction work. It takes two days for a couple to complete the work on a saree. The family will then get a wage of Rs.800 for these two days of work.

The artisans do not have the ability to purchase the materials on their own and so they depend on traders. Each ‘paavu’ costs around Rs.6,000 to7,000.

The society concentrates only on ‘set mundus’ with simple designs, while the traders place orders for saris, set mundus and double mundus with catchy designs. According to artisan, power looms uses threads worth Rs.250, while the weaver uses threads costing Rs.500.

The weavers here said that their products are being sold under the Koothampally and Balaramapuram labels in the state.

There was time when the clothes woven at Devangapuram were on a par with the silk sarees of Kasargod. They were known for unique designs and quality. But over the years, the competition from powerlooms and the inability to modernise or engage in trade have left the Devanga Chetty community who migrated from Karnataka.

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