Himachal weaving industry faces difficult with end of subsidy on woollen yarn

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2015-05-10 11:00:00 – Himachal Prades

Himachal state's weaving industry that was already reeling under crisis for want of proper policy industry. The downward slide in the industry began in late 90s owing to increased competition, lack of promotion and market accessibility. With the union government ending subsidy on woolen yarn, it has put the weaving industry further into very difficult situation.

Not only Himachal Pradesh, but weavers of neighbouring states of Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir, in fact weaving industry largely depends upon wool is facing an uncertain future.

Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member of Parliament (MP) Viplove Thakur, who recently raised the issue in the Parliament, said that there were about 22,000 weavers in Himachal alone, while the number in the two neigbouring states was much higher.

There are thousands of families who ran small looms at their homes but are not registered with any co-operative, he added.

Thakur said that by stopping subsidy on woollen yarn will rob the weavers of their jobs, and affect their families, as most of them come from poor background.

She said that the decision won't just have economic implications, but social too. A large number of women in hill states rely on the weaving industry, and they would be the worst-hit from this move, and left idle.

Union government's All-India Handloom Board had announced 10% price subsidy on woollen yarn in addition to cotton and domestic silk yarn in February 2014.

However, after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government came to power in the Centre, the subsidy on woollen yarn was stopped, while subsidy is being given to silk and cotton yarn weavers in Varanasi - the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi - and his home state, Gujarat, it had been stopped on woollen yarn.

Weaving is a rich, cultural heritage of hill state like Himachal Pradesh and it is dependent on woolen yarn as silk and cotton are not locally available. Also, it is an occupation for centuries and thus Government is bound to preserve this cultural heritage, the MP said.

Kullu valley also remains a hub of weaving industry, in other districts - particularly Kangra and Chamba - the two districts dominated by the Gaddi tribe, it is a source of livelihood for many families.

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