Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) ever since Telangana was formed three years ago, has been giving away clothes and saris to around 25 lakh Muslim men and women on the occasion of Ramzan and 20 lakh Christian men and women on Christmas every year. This year, KCR has decided to gift saris to around 97 lakh Hindu women on the occasion of Bathukamma festival which is on 28 September. Bathukamma is a unique floral festival celebrated by Hindu women in Telangana.
However, the amount spent by the government would give a big boost to the ailing handloom and textiles sector in Telangana.
Around 86 lakh of these women would be from the below poverty line families and another 11 lakh women from the middle-class, officials in the handlooms and textiles department said. The CM has directed officials to see that each sari along with blouse is valued at Rs 230 at the weaverâ€™s end.
Telangana weavers were suffering for starvation deaths and suicides for some time as they are steeped in a debt burden and plagued by the lack of sale of their products. There are around 83,000 handloom weavers in 650 registered cooperative societies, while another 40,000 are outside the cooperative sector.
They both operate around 50,000 power looms and work in handlooms alongside.
Most of the time, they procure raw material out of borrowed capital and weave their products which are sold on credit, either to their cooperative society or retail shops. As there is no steady market for handloom or power loom products, the weavers are forced to constantly live on borrowed money and are pushed to a crisis-like situation.
The decision to distribute free saris to women on the occasion of Bathukamma festival is a boon for both the women and the ailing weavers who would be fully employed for the next two to three months, Telangana Handlooms and Textiles director Shailaja Ramaiyer said. The work would be distributed to all the powerloom clusters in the state.
The government is planning to produce saris in 36 designs and colours so that the women would like to go for more such designs. The free saris would be distributed to women throughout the Bathukamma festival, from 10-28 September, through ration shops and public distribution network. Women would receive them through the biometric system at the shops, Shailaja Ramaiyer said.
Newly appointed Telangana Handloom Weaversâ€™ Cooperativesâ€™ Society (TSCO) chairman Mandala Sriramulu, too, lauded the decision of KCR to distribute free cotton saris to around one crore women on the occasion of Bathukamma festival every year. This will trigger a lot of work and business to powerlooms in the state and revive the rural economy.
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