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Palakkad handloom industry faces downturn due to lack of government support

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2014-08-14 11:30:00 – Kerala

The handloom industry in Palakkad is going through a downturn, which is a major source of revenue for many people in Palakkad district. Due to low wage coupled with lack of support from the government, the weavers are struggling to make both ends meet. The handloom workers are now forced to shift to other professions.

The weaving village at Kallanchira in Peruvemba complained that despite giving several requests government has not taken any steps to uplift the sector which is on the wane now. The total number of weaver here now are not more than 100 as most of them have switched to other jobs like painting, security services and other daily wage jobs.

Low wage is one of the key reasons, for weaving a sari, it needs the labour of two people for two days and all they get is just Rs.450 for one sari; each gets Rs.225 for two days of work. None in the new generation wants to engage in this profession due to low wages.

There were as many as 43 weaving societies in the district; of which only 14 are functional now and the remaining were closed down. The condition of the functional societies is also pathetic and on the verge of closure.

It was through these societies the weavers were getting raw materials at subsidised rate and the farmers were getting an opportunity to sell their products through these societies.

If the government opens the societies the weavers will not have much difficulty in continuing in this sector. Government must do something to get the all the societies opened. In yet another setback to the handloom weavers, the Rs.3,884 crore allotted by the Central Government to write off the debts of weaving societies has not reached them owing to the norms put forward by Nabard.

After releasing the amount, the Central government entrusted Nabard with the task of distributing funds and the measures fixed by Nabard for getting the fund are not favourable enough for societies to avail themselves of debt relief funds.

The debt relief fund which came as a hope turned futile due to the criteria fixed by Nabard. As per the criteria, one cooperative society has to be in profit for three consecutive years for getting the funds. Going by the criteria, only 180 societies were eligible for funds in the state and the rest of the nearly 600 societies were rejected.

According to A V Babu, secretary of State Handloom Cooperative Societies Association, if a society runs in profit, there is the need of debt relief fund. They have given requests to the Chief Minister in this regard, but no action has been taken so far.

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