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Weavers upset over non clearance of pending subsidy

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2014-02-05 10:15:00 – Kannur

Kannur weavers upset as no action taken by the government towards the handloom sector to clear the subsidy. Though finance minister K M Mani announced Rs 7 crore for clearing the handloom rebate in the budget for 2014-15, taking into consideration the huge backlog that is due to the weavers, this is practically nothing. It will only deepen the crisis in the handloom sector, said Weavers' Cooperative Societies' Association leaders addressing a press meet on Wednesday.

The state owes nearly Rs 6.5 crore in subsidy to the 34 weavers' cooperative societies in Kannur over the last three years, said association president P Balan. Similarly, subsidy is also due to other societies as well as bodies like Hanveev and Hantex. To clear the dues, the government will need to set aside at least thrice the amount allotted.

Owing to this, the societies are unable to clear their contributions to employee welfare schemes like ESI and provident fund.

Added to this is the subsidy due of over Rs 36.77 lakh for raw materials purchased over the last 18 months. When the price of the yarn went up, Centre had announced that it would supply hank yarns at 10% discount through the National Handloom Development Corporation.

However, the state said that it could not give two subsidies for the same product, while states like Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh weavers get both rebate. Unfortunately, handloom export from Kannur has gone down 40% in the last three years due to the global recession and this has affected weavers who depend solely on the domestic market.

Association secretary, K V Santhosh Kumar said that despite repeated requests, the government has taken any step to clear the dues. Holding back the rebate has literally shattered the industry. Three rebate sales happen in a year - for Vishu, Onam and Christmas - and over a period of three years, or ten rebates, a capital of Rs 1,000 is reduced to Rs 107.37. This is because the rest of the amount remains to be paid by the government in the form of rebate.

Weavers in Kannur to hold a dharna at the collectorate here on Wednesday upset over government’s lack of concern towards the handloom sector.

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