Weavers caught in a web of woes, to stage protest today

Weavers caught in a web of woes, to stage protest today
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Alleging step-motherly attitude towards the weavers of handloom sector and demanding immediate action to prevent encroachment of the land allocated for an apparel park in Pochampally, the State Weavers Federation (SWF) has decided to stage a protest on Saturday.

The State Weavers Federation leaders maintain that the major part of the state allocations benefit power loom sector and conventional weavers are not getting their due
Hyderabad: Alleging step-motherly attitude towards the weavers of handloom sector and demanding immediate action to prevent encroachment of the land allocated for an apparel park in Pochampally, the State Weavers Federation (SWF) has decided to stage a protest on Saturday.

While speaking to The Hans India, the SWF State president Ch Ramesh said that the government claims to have allocated about Rs 1,200 crore to weavers and handloom sector in the State.

But, what is really happening is that 80 percent of the allocation has been going to powerlooms and people engaged in the traditional vocation of weaving and handlooms remain at the receiving end, he said. As of now, the government intends to provide Rs 100 crtowards meeting yarn subsidy and Rs 147 crore for supporting production of Bathukamma sarees.

Similarly, Rs 60 crore would be provided for Thrift and Matching Contribution Fund (TMCF) and Rs 40 crore for extending financial assistance to those weavers who intend to take up other vocations as they are unable to make their livelihoods on weaving.

It was also proposed to spend Rs 15 crore towards meeting loan waiver scheme and Rs 11 crore for designing and branding purpose. In all, the benefit for people engaged in the traditional (conventional) weaving and handloom production would be about Rs 373 crore only and the remaining amount goes towards meeting subsidy, infrastructure development and others to encourage powerlooms.

He saideven within the Rs 373 crore, the government has been replicating the model followed in Tamil Nadu and sourcing the Bathukamma sarees from the powerlooms resulting in the actual spending on traditional weavers in the State to the tune ofonly about Rs 227 crore in the total allocation, the SWF members pointed out.

Adding to this, the State government’s enumeration pegged the total number of handlooms in the State at 16,776 as against about 45,000. This would further deprive the weavers from availing any assistance to improve their conditions, he said.
For example, “There is a cluster of about 400 looms located in LB Nagar in Hyderabad.

But, the same has not figured in the government records,” said founder president of the SWF M Mohan Rao. He said land belonging to a proposed apparel park in Pochampallyhas been facing the threat of encroachment.

Despite several appeals, nothing has been done so far in last three years. It was against this backdrop thatthe Joint Action Committee (JAC) has been formed to protest on June 24 at Pochampally where the Minister for Textiles K T Rama Rao is scheduled to launch new scheme for weavers.

By V R C Phaniharan

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