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Malkha, the new cotton variety of hand woven fabric to stay in demand

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2015-09-15 16:00:00 – Andhra Pradesh

Malkha also know as freedom fabric has been introduced to the members of the Pulugurtha Handloom Weavers Cooperative Production and Sale Society located about 30 km from Kakinada at a time when power looms are playing havoc with the livelihood of the artisans depending on the traditional looms.

Weavers from this tiny village in East Godavari district are posing a challenge to the power looms by way of making a fabric, which cannot be made in any other mode, but the handloom. The weavers here are enjoying the benefits of the new variety that has a great demand in the market.

Malkha weaving requires more attention, as compared to the other handloom varieties. But, the returns are comparatively high and there is no dearth of work orders due to the demand, said Boddu Venkataramana, a ‘Malkha’ weaver from the village.

Hyderabad-based Decentralised Cotton Yarn Trust (DCYT) has identified potential weavers from the village and trained them. The government has provided the machinery for the yarn unit by spending Rs. 93 lakh.

A couple can weave 42 metres of fabric in five to seven days and the remuneration will be anything between Rs. 2,680 and Rs. 3,080 based on the product quality. Saris, dupattas, bedspreads and table cloths are being made here, explains T. Satyanarayana.

The yarn making unit located in the village is of a capacity of 35 kg per day and presently it is generating 10 kg of yarn every day. If the output is required in colours, vegetable dies will be applied to the yarn, which will be divided into small reels by the local women. The society allocates the yarn and design to the weaver families, who work on their looms and return the final product to the society.

Weaver B. Vijayalakshmi said that Malkha saris are the most favourite for their leaders like Sonia Gandhi, Mamata Banarjee and Pratibha Patil.

As many as 40 weaving families from Pulugurtha, Machavaram, Someswaram and Kutukuluru have been depending on the Malkha for their livelihood by converting their handlooms into Malkha looms and making 1,500 metres to 2,000 metres of fabric a week.

The marketing part is taken care of by the DCYT as it is the lone society in the State that is working on Malkha, there is no dearth of orders. The yarn making machinery requires immediate replacement and they hope the officials will address this at the earliest, said D.V.V. Satyanarayana, secretary of the society.

Perisetti Lalayya, president of the society said that once they are able to deliver the yarn, they can include more and more families into Malkha weaving. Malkha fabric is making weavers committed to the cooperative society.

The Pulugurtha society produced fabric worth Rs. 18.5 lakh in last fiscal, according to K. Kanna Babu, Assistant Director, Department of Handlooms.

An artistic blend of ‘Malmal’ and ‘Khadi,’ ‘Malkha’ is the new cotton variety that remained as fashion statement for high society ladies from the northern parts of the country.

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