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Weaving out of trouble with sundry works
Corona pandemic is teaching new lessons to all sections of society. Some good and some are forced to adopt new ways and means of livelihood for survival
Tirupati: Corona pandemic is teaching new lessons to all sections of society. Some good and some are forced to adopt new ways and means of livelihood for survival. With no early end to the pandemic in view, people now seem to be getting adjusted to the management of prolonged crisis. The handloom sector is no exception to it.
Sabapathi, a 65-year-old weaver from Pudupettai, near Nagari, had stopped working few years back leaving his family tradition of weaving to his son Sasikumar. But with the industry having been pushed into crisis, Sasikumar said he had to now learn the art of being a daily wage worker to keep the wolf away from the doors.
Till the pandemic came, "I did not know any other work except weaving. First two to three months I managed the family of six, including aged parents and my spouse and two children, with existing resources and borrowing from friends. But since no early end is in site, he said, he was forced to become 'Chital' daily wage worker, which included construction work, helper to painters and carpenters.
"They pay me Rs 200 to 300 as I am not fast and not so good at work like the experienced labourers who get Rs 500 daily. But I have no choice. May be soon I will become an expert and will have added skills to weaving," he said.
Kumar, 55-year-old weaver also from Nagari area said 60 percent of us are now working as daily wage workers taking whatever work comes their way but with much less pay than normal payment to similar better experienced workers.
During the first week of every month, he said, he works as a helper in fair price shops distributing essentials later as helper to electricians, plumber or construction worker. "Indeed it is very tough for me work as helper as I never did such work but have no option if I have to sustain my family," he said in an emotion choked voice.
Most of the weavers in Nagari area, including Pudupettai, Keelapattu, Ekambarakuppam, Cintalapatteda and Satravada, with heavy concentration of weavers belong to Tamil speaking Vellala Mudaliar and Sengunda Mudaliar community while in Puttur and Narayanavanam Telugu speaking Padmasalis working as weavers in sizable numbers.
This has also given a new dimension to employment. Those who were hiring the new labourers are depriving the experienced workforce of work to save about Rs 200 per person per day. After Unlock 4.0, weavers are now hoping that their woes would end in a month are two with orders from the major markets like Chennai started trickling in but they are not in a position to resume work as they have no money to get raw materials like yarn and dies.
Most of them have not got payments for the deliveries made in January and February to wholesale merchants in Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi. The young ones who have vehicles in a better position as they could find work in cities like Tirupati or Chittoor or industrial areas like Gummudipoondi across the border, an aged weaver Elumalai said.